A municipality spokesperson said Sunday that the city is working around the clock with the IDF, police and community leaders to ensure Jerusalemites remain safe and return to normal life within the next 24-48 hours.
To address the numerous problems plaguing the city, Mayor Nir Barkat’s spokesperson Brachie Sprung said Sunday that the municipality has divided emergencies into three color categories, denoted by red, blue and white.
“Red represents the most severe problems, such as opening roads to hospitals; blue represents secondary problems including opening main streets; and white is for smaller streets and sidewalks,” she said.
Sprung said the municipality’s first priority remains protecting the lives of the capital’s 800,000 residents.
“Once we saw how powerful the storm was, first and foremost the municipality’s goal was to save lives, and there have been no casualties, which we are obviously very happy about,” she said.
Sprung said the municipality remains in constant communication with Egged and the Light Rail to ensure service is resumed as soon as possible, but noted that black ice has resulted in a number of buses slipping.
“The ice is very dangerous because temperatures remain cold and it is hard to see, so it’s important to ensure pubic transportation is safe before resuming operations,” she said.
Sprung added that the municipality has been in close contact with all of Jerusalem’s numerous community councils, which she described as a “secret weapon,” to ascertain timely information regarding each area’s most pressing problems.
“Our community leaders have been incredibly helpful in letting us know what they need most and where, as well as ensuring elderly residents and those without family are safe,” she said.
“It’s a challenge to get 800,000 residents back to normal and we need help from community leaders to do it.”
Now that the worst of the storm has passed, Sprung said the municipality is working closely with the government to restore electricity for some 5,000 households.
“We want to get power back as soon as possible and are doing everything possible to do that.”
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police worked throughout the day Sunday to ensure Route 1 and 443 reopened, and is now working with the electric company to address the ongoing power failures.
“Now that the roads are reopened, our biggest challenge is making sure the electric company can get to areas that have been cut off due to the snow,” he said.
“This is difficult due to the enormous downfall, but we are working with the IDF and municipality to clear all roads.”
Rosenfeld said that the police Emergency Center has received some 70,000 calls since the storm landed Thursday evening.
“We are working around the clock to address every single call and to ensure residents remain safe,” he said. “We ask the public to remain patient during this difficult time.”