Officials: Storms Caused NIS 2 Billion in Damage

YERUSHALAYIM -
A military truck evacuates Israeli citizens through a flooded road in Nahariya, on a stormy winter day, last Wednesday. (Meir Vaknin/Flash90)

With the weather improved this week, Israel has been able to take an accounting of the damage done in two monster storms that hit the country in the previous two weeks. While the storms were great for the country’s water economy, with streams filled to the brim and the Kinneret rising at a rapid pace, cities along the coast bore the brunt of the damage – which insurance industry officials estimated at about NIS 2 billion.

Nahariya was the most affected city, with much of the city’s center inundated with flood waters. The government discussed assistance for Nahariya and other damaged cities at its meeting Sunday. Among the damage done by the storms were downed electrical wires, infrastructure that fell in high winds, flooded homes and basements, and vehicles whose electrical systems were shorted out by the rising waters.

Globes quoted insurance industry officials as saying that so far, some 50,000 claims have been filed for direct damages due to flood waters, totaling about NIS 1.5 billion, with about NIS 500 million in damages to infrastructure and public areas. Vehicle damage, totaling NIS 900 million, constituted the lion’s share of the claims, with over 25,000 vehicles needing storm-related repairs.

The officials said that although the government does not compensate private individuals for damages, it expects a raft of lawsuits from residents who plan to claim that it was the negligence of public officials that created situations that allowed the flood waters to damage their property, including failing to ensure that drainage systems were sufficient to handle the waters.