Sderot evacuation 224.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Some 3,000 of the 22,000 Sderot residents fled the beleaguered western Negev town in June, July and August, Yediot Aharonot reported on Tuesday.
The figure amounts to an unprecedented 1 in 7 people that escaped the incessant Kassam attacks over the summer when some 1,500 rockets were fired at the town.
Sderot officials assessed that the mass summer exodus was due to growing exhaustion of residents and the fact the many left so that their children could start the new school year elsewhere.
Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal revealed that many of those who left were from a medium to high economic level. "They are the families that were the fuel, the power and the engine that were driving Sderot forward. These are the people who opened businesses, employed people and raised their living standards - most of them have now disappeared. It is a tremendous blow to the town, also because of the harm to the Interior Ministry budget."
Sderot Municipality workers said that from conversations with families that have left the town, it emerged that most had set up new homes in Ashkelon, Ashdod and Rishon Lezion - further away for the threat of Kassam attacks.
Streets lined with villas are gradually emptying because most residents know that the chances of a Kassam falling on their house is higher than their chances of selling the property, Yediot reported.
"If you give me 200,000 dollars for my house, I'll leave the town," said one resident who has lived in Sderot all his life. "During the tough periods I simply leave my house and return when things have calmed down. I can do this, but others are forced to stay here or live off Gaydamak."