Northern Israel struggles without electricity, waits for help

Northern Galilee sees third day without electricity, woman in labor forced to walk 3 km. to get help. Coops damaged, roads blocked as residents trapped in homes: 'Like being in a freezer'

Maor Buchnik

As in Jerusalem, many locations in northern Israel are still without power, and meanwhile, the roads remain blocked. The snowfall caused heavy damage to agriculture and impeded exit routes in the upper Galilee. Seniors and children from different communities were transferred by the regional council to a hotel in Tiberias on Sunday.

 

In Beit Jann, a woman in labor was evacuated on foot, having to walk three kilometers (1.86 miles) through heavy snow until reaching a car that took her to the hospital.

 

Related stories:

 

Michael Moyal, 26, a father-of-one from the northern community of Hoshen, said: "The situation is relatively fine, despite the cold and lack of response from the regional council. We have no furnaces and no way to get out of here. We called the council but there was no reply. This is our third day without power, we don't know how long this will last and there are no evacuation plans being made.

 

"One more night like this,and even our firewood will run out. We set out on foot to my mother-in-law, since her house has heating. My house's temperature is so low, it's like being in a freezer."

 

 

 

 

Moyal recounts how his family coped with the cold, without having electricity: "They gave us army heating bags. I charged my phone from my laptop, until the battery ran out. We'll see how long it takes until we get proper treatment, although it looks like we stand at the bottom of the food chain. Major cities are taken care of first, and we get neglected.

 

"We would leave, but the roads are blocked due to the ice, we have to wait for several more hours. As soon as a way to get out of here will be found, everyone will escape, there's nothing to do here. Perhaps only those who own chicken coops will stay."

 

Tiran Yakuti from Dovev has a chicken coop, but no electricity or water: "The pipes froze, the power has been cut off for three days and the food in the fridge is going bad. I pass the time by walking to the coop and back home, trying to save my chickens. The snow has accumulated on the coops' roofs and one of them collapsed; half a million shekels went to waste. Meanwhile we huddle up with blankets at home. I want to get out of here, but I can't leave the coop."

 

Anat Bitton from Avivim blames the Israel Electric Corporation and the regional council for not offering solutions to residents' problems: "We were met with a lack of response from the IEC. I phoned to ask when the electricity would come back and was told that they have no information for me; this was followed by a hang-up. The council transferred seniors and children on Sunday, at least that's what they said, but it turns out that my children, aged five to 14, are not considered children.

 

"Up until this morning they were about to freeze to death, we sat for three days in one room with blankets and no heating." Bitton said that the IEC, the regional council and the State have all abandoned their responsibilities. "(Avivim) is a small community, we're not superpowers like Jerusalem or Safed," she added.

 

 

 

 

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4465665,00.html