Ein Hod 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Residents have begun trickling back to Kibbutz Beit Oren, days after dozens of homes there were burned in the massive Carmel wildfire.
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Beit Oren, which has around 200 members, was one of the sites hardest hit by the blaze, with around 65 houses suffering damage. It lies within eyesight of the bus that went up in flames on Thursday, leaving dozens of prison service trainees dead.
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The kibbutz was forcibly evacuated on Thursday, and those residents whose homes were damaged were moved to nearby Kibbutz Nahsholim. On Monday, a number of these residents remained at Nahsholim, waiting for word that hazardous materials had been cleared out and they could return.
Beit Oren is located next to the Carmel Nature Reserve national park in an area often called “little Switzerland,” largely due to the mountain scenery and pine trees. (Oren is Hebrew for pine.) When the fire came on Thursday, the pine trees there betrayed the kibbutz, bursting and exploding into flames, sending fiery pine cones flying in all directions.
Kibbutz member Guy Ben- Yehuda said Monday that the real extent of the damage would be known only after residents return.
“When they see their houses they’ll be shocked,” Ben-Yehuda said. “That’s when the real trauma will begin.”
Meanwhile, The Ministry of Welfare and Social Services announced Tuesday that it would be distributing some NIS 450,000 to welfare departments in the three municipalities affected by the disaster.
Usfiya, Tirat Carmel and Hof Hacarmel will receive the financial boost to help provide increased social services to individuals and families affected by the fired, which started last Thursday, killing at least 42 and leaving hundreds homeless.
On Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for the Treasury to
distribute emergency compensation of NIS 2,500 to each person unable to
return home in the next month for them to purchase basic necessities
such as clothes and school books in the coming. The Finance Ministry
transferred the funds to local authorities in the region on Tuesday.
An estimated 250 homes were destroyed in the fire. Aside from those at
Beit Oren, houses and other structures at the Yemin Orde youth village
and the nearby artist village of Ein Hod were destroyed.