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66% of Arab-Israeli families at risk of death from unsafe heaters

January 26, 2019 at 1:04 pm

A Palestinian family sits around a heater in their temporary housing during a winter storm in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, Palestine on January 25, 2016 [SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images]

An Israeli NGO has found that 66 per cent of Israeli deaths resulting from fires were among the country’s Arab citizens.

The organisation – Beterem Safe Kids Israel – conducted a questionnaire which found that the main reason for fires was using unsafe heaters or electricity short-circuits, Arab 48 reported yesterday.

Yesterday morning two Palestinian children from Kafr Qasim, east of Tel Aviv, died and three family members were wounded in a fire at their home. Experts have not yet identified the cause of the fire, but some expect that it resulted from a heater explosion. Others thought an electrical item could have been placed on a mattress, which heated up and then caused the fire.

According to Beterem 63 children died in fires between 2008 and 2019, most of them in house blazes.

To avoid deaths, Beterem advised people to install smoke alarms in their homes. In addition, it advised families to use safe heaters, pointing out that only three per cent of Arab-Israeli families have radiators due to their limited income. This is compared to 81 per cent of Jewish-Israeli families who have radiators.

Read: Palestinian poverty level almost double Israel average