Has winter finally arrived in Israel? All entrances to the city of Nahariya were completely blocked by police on Sunday due after the city's sewage system began overflowing due to heavy rains in northern Israel, causing sewage runoff to contaminate the Kishon river.
“The damage is great,” Nahariya Mayor Ronen Marelli said. He told local residents to stay in their homes and to stay away from the nearby Ga’aton River.
Nahariya needs government assistance to deal with the flooding, Marelli said, adding that “the State of Israel will have to help. We will not be able to deal with the Ga’aton’s problems alone. We will not be able to go through a flood of this magnitude every two weeks. We need to solve this now.”
Several main streets in Nahariya, including sections of Haga’aton, Weizmann and Sokolov, were blocked in an attempt to contain the flooding. Fire and Rescue Services rescue workers helped evacuate several citizens near Haga’aton Street.
בזמן שנהריה (שוב) נצורה,יש גם דברים משמחים- הנה נחל דישון (מתחת למושב דישון) לפני כחצי שעה.צילם- פרופ' מוסטפא עבאסי שבדיוק חזר מהעבודה ועבר ליד pic.twitter.com/H4tSBlDNXY— Noa Shpigel (@NoaShpigel) January 17, 2021
Heavy rains were expected to reach central Israel Sunday evening, with floods expected in the Judean Desert and near the Dead Sea.
Last January, during similar flooding in Nahariya, Moti Ben Shabbat, 38, was swept away by floodwaters as he tried to rescue the passengers of a car that overturned during heavy rainfall.
After the flood, the Environmental Protection Ministry gave Nahariya a NIS 10 million grant to deal with damage to the city’s infrastructure, including repairing the waste collection system, and recycling and storage equipment, as well as toward removing exposed asbestos deposits and making the public aware of the risk.
Last August, the Agriculture Ministry said it would invest NIS 146m. to upgrade drainage facilities across the country, including Nahariya. One of the projects included building reservoirs around the city to take excess water from the Ga’aton River, which flows through the city center en route to the Mediterranean Sea.