Daily Israel Report

Gov't Ministries Provide Quick Help for Fire Victims

The Prime Minister’s Office issues report on its post-Carmel fire activities, including help for the homeless and repair of damage.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 12/9/2010, 11:46 AM / Last Update: 12/9/2010, 11:34 AM

Flash 90

The Prime Minister’s Office issues report on its post-Carmel fire activities, including help for the homeless and repair of damage.

“As per Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's instructions and subsequent government decisions,” the PMO reported, “to do everything possible in order to ensure a rapid and comprehensive government response to rehabilitate residents, communities, infrastructures and the forests that were hurt by the Carmel wildfire, government ministries are currently doing their utmost.”

The following is a preliminary and partial list of rehabilitation activities being carried out by the various government ministries, according to the PMO:

General: The inter-ministerial team of directors-general for the rehabilitation of fire victims and damages is continuing to advance assistance to residents and communities that were hurt in order to lead to their rehabilitation, while removing impediments, so as to restore normal life as soon as possible. Prime Minister Netanyahu verified that a NIS 4.5 million budgetary commitment was issued for a preliminary rehabilitation of infrastructures.

Advance Sum: An advance sum of 2,500 NIS will be paid to each individual whose home has been made uninhabitable for at least a month by the fire. The Finance Ministry has transferred to the communities of Beit Oren, Ein Hod, Yemin Orde and Usfiya advances for this purpose. The Finance Ministry has established a team tasked with providing immediate assistance for the needs of residents who were evacuated from their homes due to the fire and to the communities that were hurt.  As of now, the team has channeled several million shekels to these ends and will continue to do so as per need.

Insurance: Oded Sarig, Finance Ministry Director for the Capital Market, Insurance and Savings, has instructed insurance companies to deal quickly and efficiently with the claims of citizens who were hurt in the fire and to give preference to dealing with these claims.  Sarig’s department will monitor the situation to verify that insurance companies meet their obligations toward policyholders.

Social Needs: The Social Welfare and Social Services Ministry has transferred NIS 450,000 in immediate assistance to the social welfare departments in Usfiya, Tirat HaCarmel and the Carmel Coast Regional Council area.  The funds are to assist with special needs such as clothing and footwear, medicines, food, etc. 

The Welfare Ministry has also mobilized social workers from the northern district to reinforce the local social welfare departments in the affected communities so that the latter are ready to provide immediate responses as necessary.  The Ministry's emergency switchboard (118) is open 24 hours, and the Ministry is also coordinating with social service non-profit associations and voluntary organizations. 

The Ministry is to formulate and submit a plan, within seven days, to rehabilitate and strengthen citizens, local councils and communities that were affected by the fire. 

Exemptions: The Interior Ministry has approved permit exemptions for the stationing of mobile housing structures for temporary residential purposes in the Carmel wildfire zone. The Ministry has also announced that Carmel area residents whose personal documents (ID card, passport, etc.) were burnt or damaged will be exempt from fees for replacing them.

Housing: The Construction and Housing Ministry is formulating a detailed plan on repairing the physical damages from the fire, and for the provision of assistance for alternative housing for families whose homes were damaged.

Roads: The Transportation and Road Safety Ministry will present, within seven days, a comprehensive plan on rehabilitating transportation infrastructures that were destroyed in the fire. 

Gas: The National Infrastructures Ministry has issued directives to reconnect the home gas system network after it was disconnected in wake of the fire.

Environment and Animals: The Environmental Protection Ministry is acting to prevent the dispersal of asbestos fibers from burnt structures.  It has also convened the Plant and Animal Rehabilitation Committee to formulate a plan to rehabilitate the animal and plant life damaged by the fire, as well as campgrounds, animal parks and the Carmel Farm. 

Agriculture: The Agriculture Ministry and a Jewish National Fund team are working to assess agricultural damages from the fire.  Infrastructures rehabilitation work will begin this week in Beit Oren, Nir Etzion, Ein Hod and Ein Houd. The Ministry is taking action to prevent soil erosion in the Carmel Nature Reserve, in anticipation of the heavy rains expected over the weekend.

New Trees: The Tourism Ministry and the Jewish National Fund in North America have begun raising funds from both Jewish and Christian evangelical communities to rehabilitate the Carmel forest and plant new trees in place of some of those that were burnt.