The Current Situation in Kiryat Malachi-Hof
The Current Situation in Kiryat Malachi-Hof
Living next to
However, the psychological damage has been great. The sense of fear and apprehension is ever present. Air raid alarms are sounded many times a day in all the communities. The instructions for the residents require them to remain close to protected rooms and shelters and you can imagine everyone, fearing the worst, rushing to shelters several times a day. Young children especially are going through a hard time with the results being a growing number of children crying constantly, wetting their beds, refusing to be separated from parents, and remaining nervous throughout the day and night. The fear is even greater on the communities further away from
The therapists in the
In many ways, the 5 closest communities to
The bomb shelters and reinforced rooms have for the most part been better equipped than the other communities. A good number of the shelters have been equipped with television sets, children’s games, and suitable furnishings – many as a result of contributions from the
While activities and programs are being planned and held for youth and children, the major thrust in Hof Ashkelon is to try and get vulnerable populations out of the region. Institutions all over
Every morning at and every evening at , the representatives of the army, police, home front command, government ministries, and the regional council departments –welfare, education, transportation, infrastructure, security, youth, etc. meet to coordinate policies and activities. Many subjects are covered. Today they discussed what to do about matriculation exams now that schools have been cancelled. Where can the regional council organize intensive study sessions for the high school students that will be safe and meet the standards of the home front command? Can this be done in central locations or must they be held in the 20 communities of Hof Ashkelon? Who will teach them? How will transportation be arranged? The council organizes for different populations to leave the region. Who should go next? Who will be in charge? What will the program be? Who will organize the buses? Who will pay for the buses? How will it be organized so that the days away go to those most in need and seem fair to everyone? The meetings take place in the underground emergency center which was refurbished by the Portland Jewish Federation. The emergency communication center, contributed by Phoenix and Tucson Federations, have been n continuous use facilitating contact with the 20 moshavim and kibbutzim and with the army, police, and the regional council agencies servicing the communities.
One of the most valuable organized groups are the local emergency volunteer teams providing emergency medical and psychological assistance, organized according to skills and professions (nurses, social workers, educators, etc.). These teams have been meeting non-stop with families in the kibbutzim and moshavim, offering advice and counseling to those who are finding it most difficult to cope with the tension stemming from the situation today. The Seattle Federation has contributed to those teams in the five settlements closest to
The regional council possesses a jeep purchased by the San Jose Federation used by their security department to check on the border areas and all 20 communities. It needs to be replaced and while the Israeli government is willing to pay for part of the cost, outside funding is needed.
(I repeat Hof Ashkelon's funding requests: equipment and furnishings for bomb shelters; programs and activities for children and youth; communication equipment and medical kits for the emergency volunteer teams; a new security vehicle; and funding for buses willing to transport various HA populations to take advantage of outside Israeli organizations willing to host them. Anything that the federations can do to cover even partially some of these items would be extremely welcome.)
Four missiles fell this week in open fields near the town of
Almost every day, children and youth are being taken to places like
The Welfare Department is also trying to help deaf residents who can not hear the warning sirens by providing them with instruments that light up when the sirens go off. Staff members and volunteers have gone out and visited the homes of all of the senior citizens of the town, explaining to them what to do when the siren is on and to help them deal with their fears. For some seniors who have panicked and can no longer sleep or who no longer take their medications, the department has called family members living in other parts of the country to take in these seniors. Staff and volunteers have met with many individuals with disabilities and have tried to improve their ability to function under the tension caused by the missiles. They have also organized outings for them to places in
The Ethiopian Absorption Service of the town translated the government's instructions into Amharic and it 4 staff members and additional volunteers have visited every Ethiopian family in KM and explained in Amharic to the Ethiopian population the situation and how to cope with the emergency situation and how to deal with their anxieties.
Some of the town's after school programs, especially those that were supported by the Mother to Another program, are located in bomb shelters and starting next week programs and activities will be held in them during the day for this population since schools and preschools have all been cancelled. The partnership supported Youth Council and
Anxiety is ever present amongst the town's residents and a list of needs to help alleviate the tension has been drawn up: rental of buses to take vulnerable populations to towns in the north and center of the country; programs and activities for children and youth to keep them busy, occupied, and safe while school is no longer in session; a replacement for the security vehicle originally provided by the Phoenix Jewish Federation that patrols schools and other public institutions; 10 walkie talkie systems; 8 intercom systems; 2 LCD TVs for bomb shelters; and most importantly according to the municipality for today are 8 computers and 2 laptops for the emergency command center.
Any help that the communities can provide in any of these areas would be of tremendous use and would be gratefully acknowledged in these tense times.
I would add one more need and that is to show the residents here that people in the partnership communities are thinking about them. A decision was made this week to place the six Otzma volunteers in
Those who want to contact children and youth in Hof Ashkelon can contact Hila Hamami. In Kiryat Malachi, Hila Kordova and Liat.