Still facing the fallout of one of the region's biggest snowstorms in memory, residents of the Binyamin “Gav Hahar” (Samarian Foothills) communities, from Har Bracha near Shechem, to Beit El outside Jerusalem, were digging out Sunday, as rescue forces helped some 700 families who had no power, water, phone or other services find shelter in other communities. Among the families were many with small children and pregnant women.
Rescue efforts began in earnest Saturday night, as officials of the Binyamin Regional Council visited each community to assess the situation. Food was distributed to families who could not be evacuated immediately due to the heavy snow conditions, but more food – as much as 12 tons – is needed for families still stuck at home, the Council said. Although without electricity, many of the residents do have gas and diesel burning heating units, and the Council has been distributing fuel for these as well.
Helping out with the food and fuel collection are the Mega and Alon supermarket and gas station chains, as well as the Tara dairy products company. The Council said that many Israelis from all around the country had offered to help in whatever way they could, whether that meant hosting families or helping remove them using their heavy vehicles.
Among those rescued from the snow were a couple who are set to marry Sunday. The Council contributed a bus that would take them and their guests to the wedding site, at Mitzpe Yitzhar in Samaria.
As of Sunday night, much of the region is still without electricity. “We demand answers from the Israel Electric Company on when the electricity in these areas will be repaired, so we can send home the children who have been turned into refugees,” the Council said.
“It's wonderful to see how everyone is working together to ease the situation,” said Samaria Council head Gershon Mesika. “The Jewish people are very large-hearted. We will continue helping and evacuating residents that need to be moved until we have finished the job,” he added.