Israel — Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser on Sunday presented the government’s plan of dealing with damages caused by the Carmel wildfire and the estimated aid to be given to those whose property was destroyed.
Speaking at the Haifa command post, Hauser said that the four communities that sustained the most serious damages were Nir Etzion, Ein Hod, Ein Hawd and Yemin Orde.
He added that some 250 housing units sustained heavy damage, and will probably have to be rebuilt.
Hauser noted that in places that do not receive immediate aid, the government will supply residents with temporary mobile homes.
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed us to remove these mobile homes within 60 days, so that they do not become permanent housing solutions,” he said.
The cabinet secretary added that governmental teams will be in charge of mapping the scope of the damage. “Some of those whose property was damaged are covered by insurance companies, while others are not.
“We need to help all those who have suffered as a result of the fire in terms of lost property, but on the other hand, we cannot allow this to harm the insurance market and the model that is employed in Israel. It is a complex matter,” he explained.
6 days to present plan
Hauser said that according to preliminary estimates, renovating the communities will cost between NIS 125 million and NIS150 million (about $34- $41 million), and rehabilitating the forests and roads will cost an additional NIS 150 million.
“I assume that within a week we’ll have more accurate figures,” he said, adding that Netanyahu instructed to “keep bureaucracy to the bare minimum,” and find creative solutions, because we are dealing with people.
Hauser also noted that a special team will be appointed to take care of the population and reinforce the welfare apparatus. This team will include Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog, as well as representatives from the Health Ministry, Pensioners Ministry, Social Security, Culture Ministry and Finance Ministry.
The team was instructed to present a plan of action for the orderly care of residents affected by the fire within seven days.
Another team, headed by Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan will be in charge of rehabilitating the Carmel Forest. The team will have 21 days to present a plan of action, due to the longer amount of time it will take to estimate the scope of the damage.
“This is quite a vast area; we’re talking about some 50,000 dunams (about 12,300 acres). We need to examine ways to restore the nature to its previous condition, and it will take a long time,” concluded Hauser.