Jerusalem Cleanup Still Underway

Transportation, schools, municipal services slowly return to normal; mayor Nir Barkat praises community efforts in storm's wake.

Tova Dvorin ,

Business as usual? Jerusalem post-snowstorm,
Business as usual? Jerusalem post-snowstorm,

The Jerusalem Municipality's situation room continues to coordinate the efforts of emergency responders, the Israeli army, the Israeli electric company, city managers, and Jerusalem's community councils, according to a press release from Mayor Nir Barkat's office Monday. 

Barkat commended the cleanup efforts thus far. "I witnessed firsthand the compassion and dedication of our Jerusalem residents. I'm very proud of all the Jerusalemites who came together, across all sectors, to help each other during the storm," he stated. 

"Our community councils, who are led by the city's professional staff and local residents, were very involved in helping with the needs of their community. I heard numerous stories of volunteers who provided food for elderly residents and those with physical disabilities. I also know of several residents who welcomed individuals who were stranded without power into their homes. Jerusalemites are what make our city the best in the world."

Barkat also warned that "there [is] still much work and clean up needed in the coming days to restore the city back to normalcy."

The city is still operating in emergency mode and will continue to do so until all roads are cleared and power has been restored to every home. Garbage collection service has also resumed after trash piled up during the storm.

Barkat reportedly visited schools and neighborhoods earlier Monday to assess the situation and to determine whether classes will resume Tuesday morning. Damage from the storm created safety hazards in several schools and their surrounding streets and sidewalks. Municipal employees, soldiers and volunteers are visiting every educational institution to conduct thorough testing and to repair any damages.

Monday night, the Jerusalem municipality announced that most schools will reopen at 10:00 am, and has released a list with those schools cleared to re-open. The municipality also urges parents to think carefully about road conditions before allowing their children to return to schools and daycare centers, and advises families to stay at home in cases of doubt. Traffic police will reportedly be set up around schools to help ease transportation in light of the current conditions.

Transportation, which began Sunday only to stop again due to icy conditions, is slowly returning to normalcy with limited service. Intra-city bus lines were operational Monday, but stopped at 8:00 pm as a safety precaution; the Jerusalem Light Rail has also resumed limited services this afternoon from Givat Hamivtar to the Central Bus Station. 

The city urges citizens to check the websites for Egged, the intra-city bus company, and CityPass, the light rail service, for further updates.  

The cold weather has created dangerous and slippery conditions along the roads and sidewalks, especially at night and in the early morning hours.. The Municipality recommends that residents limit driving only to necessary travel. Also, residents are urged to stay away from power lines.

In addition, the covered part of the Mahane Yehuda Market remains closed due to safety issues; the roof was not structurally sound and began to collapse under the snow's weight.