Two homeless men died Wednesday within hours of each other in the coastal city of Bat Yam, south of Tel Aviv, with officials assessing that both died of hypothermia, as stormy and cold conditions persisted.
The development brings to four the estimated death toll in Israel from Winter Storm Carmel, which swept through the country this week, bringing chilly weather and strong winds alongside heavy rain. One of the other victims was a homeless man who died in Tel Aviv from hypothermia on Saturday as the forefront of the storm made landfall, while the other fatality resulted from a car crash caused by the downpour.
On Wednesday, Hebrew media reported that a man in his 60s was found dead in a shopping center’s indoor parking lot in Bat Yam. Authorities reportedly believe he was sheltering from the cold and died from a combination of alcohol consumption and hypothermia.
Four hours later, a man in his 50s was found dead in a bomb shelter inside a residential building, after he, too, apparently tried to shelter from the cold.
The Bat Yam Municipality noted that it had warned the city’s unhoused population of the storm ahead of time and tried to get them to stay in designated shelters, where they would be given food, a place to sleep and other facilities. However, it additionally claimed many of the city’s street-dwellers “aren’t homeless and refuse to accept help.”
The extreme weather system has steadily subsided in recent days, although temperatures have remained cold.
שלושה דרי רחוב מתו בפחות משבוע. שניים בבת ים היום במקלט של בניין ובחניון ציבורי, אחד בתל אביב על ספסל מול התחנה המרכזית בשבת. המדינה צריכה להתעורר
אחת הזירות בבת ים מוקדם יותר היום, צילום: הדס פרוש pic.twitter.com/kpt8rHVufs
— Bar Peleg (@bar_peleg) December 22, 2021
While chilly temperatures will remain throughout the week, only scattered showers were predicted for Thursday and Friday before sunny skies return on Saturday.
Earlier in the week, the storm wreaked havoc across the country, bringing down trees and electrical poles, sparking fires and bringing widespread flooding.
A man who was hit by a falling tree in Netanya on Monday remains hospitalized in serious condition.
Police and fire services warned the public to refrain from unnecessary travel during the storm, and to avoid underground parking garages and other areas that could be subject to flooding.