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Photo by: Daniel K. Eisenbud
Jerusalem Municipality continues to operate in emergency mode
By DANIEL K. EISENBUD
17/12/2013
While Barkat noted that the worst of the storm has passed, he emphasized that much work remains to be done in the coming days.
 
The Jerusalem Municipality’s situation room continued to coordinate the efforts of emergency responders Monday, including the IDF, police, Israeli electric company, city managers, and Jerusalem’s community councils, Mayor Nir Barkat said Monday.

While Barkat noted that the worst of the storm has passed, he emphasized that much work remains to be done in the coming days to restore the city to normalcy.

To that end, the mayor said the capital will continue to operate in emergency mode until “all roads are cleared and power has been restored to every home.”

As the municipality continues to oversee the plowing, opening and salting of roads, city buses operated in a limited capacity Monday due to slippery roads, ceasing operations at 8 p.m.

The Jerusalem Light Rail resumed limited services Monday afternoon from Givat Hamivtar to the Central Bus Station.

In terms of sanitation, the mayor said garbage collection resumed Monday, at double the normal capacity, to remove the city’s trash that accumulated during the storm.

However, some Jerusalem residents claimed the municipality had fallen down on the job in returning the city to working order. “There hasn’t been salting on most of the roads, most sidewalks have not been cleaned, and public transportation is still only sporadic,” said one long-time resident.

Barkat said he visited schools and neighborhoods throughout Monday to assess the situation.

“Damage from the storm created safety hazards in several schools and their surrounding streets and sidewalks,” he said.

“Municipal employees, soldiers and volunteers are visiting every educational institution to conduct thorough testing and to repair any damages.”

A decision was made Monday night that Jerusalem schools that were deemed to be safe would reopen Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.

Meanwhile, a serious tractor trailer accident on Route 1 early Monday morning, during which the vehicle flipped over after skidding on black ice, underscored the dangers of driving conditions in the capital.

According to a Jerusalem Fire Department spokesman, the accident occurred at approximately 3 a.m. when the bakery truck slammed into the vehicle in front of it, after losing control due to ice on the roadway.

The injured driver became trapped in the cabin of the truck, necessitating the dispatch of firefighters to extricate him from the vehicle using an industrial cutting device.

Although the firefighters arrived in under 10 minutes to rescue the trapped driver, an accompanying ambulance became stuck in traffic, unable to reach the scene of the accident.

Paramedics were subsequently forced to run several hundred meters to the truck and place the injured driver on a gurney, which they dragged over ice like a sled after two firemen slipped and injured their backs, while attempting to carry the man back to the ambulance.

The injured driver was later treated at an area hospital for minor injuries, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Barkat lauded the ongoing cooperation among Jerusalem residents and city officials as recovery efforts continue.

“I witnessed first-hand the compassion and dedication of our Jerusalem residents,” he said. “I’m very proud of all the Jerusalemites who came together, across all sectors, to help each other during the storm.”

Barkat said that the capital’s numerous community councils have been instrumental in helping address and expedite the needs of the most vulnerable residents in their respective communities.

“I heard numerous stories of volunteers who provided food for elderly residents and those with physical disabilities,” he said. “I also know of several residents who welcomed individuals who were stranded without power into their homes.”

Barkat continued, “Jerusalemites are what make our city the best in the world.”
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