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Comptroller to probe storm preparedness: Consequences of storm 'not white, but black'
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
18/12/2013
Shapira highlights the disproportionate negative impact that the storm had on the poorer sectors of society.
 
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira on Wednesday said he would investigate the government's preparedness for coping with the recent storm which shut down large swaths of the country, stating "whoever travels around Jerusalem's streets sees that the situation is not white, but black."

Shapira made his comments at a conference on internal government oversight in Tel Aviv.

The comptroller said that, "we are not talking about a sudden incident, and even before the storm, one could already anticipate its immensity based on the weather projections."

"During that time, the state was obligated to review the situation accordingly," he continued, noting that besides investigating storm preparedness, he would also be investigating general preparedness for potential sudden large-scale disasters.

Shapira highlighted the disproportionate negative impact that the storm had on the poorer sectors of society.

"Even as all of the nation of Israel was exposed to difficulties due to the storm, it was clear that the difficulties for the weaker sectors, who did not have the ability to leave their residences or to pay for extra high costs for heating" were much greater, he said.

He added that, "the heart breaks to see elderly persons and children freezing from the cold with no one to save them."

Shapira resolved that the state must be even more prepared for protecting the poor from similar future disasters.

The comptroller also addressed the issue of whether his intervening in the middle of the storm, as opposed to waiting until the storm had subsided, had been the right move or not.

Pushing back against some criticism, he said that the report he would prepare was not the first report on home-front preparedness and that, after serious internal debate, his office had concluded that he must voice his criticism in a "clear manner and note the state agencies which will be checked."

Shapira said that his intervention had spurred on state agencies to act more efficiently in responding to the storm and "had been at the right time."

He concluded stating that although this time the threat had been a storm, "the next time it could be rockets."
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