Mental health pros set up emergency teams in battered south

The Finance Ministry is preparing to compensate southern residents for lost business, missed days of work and damaged property.

Security personnel check a damaged house in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, following a rocket attack from Gaza November 12, 2018.  (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Security personnel check a damaged house in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, following a rocket attack from Gaza November 12, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
The Welfare and Finance Ministries began work to provide aid to the residents of the south, as their towns continued to be battered with rockets on Tuesday.
An emergency team of social workers, psychologists and other mental health professionals headed to the area to help residents of Gaza border towns.
The Welfare Ministry provided emergency services, and sought to ensure constant contact with area residents, with an emphasis on those with special needs.
In addition, a treatment center for victims of shock in Netivot was staffed with social workers and psychologists to provide mental health first aid.
“I support the residents in the area of the conflict,” Welfare Minister Chaim Katz said. “Professionals in my ministry are working in the field to try to relieve the tension and the anxiety, and are giving maximum aid to the residents of the south.”
In the past three years, the Welfare Ministry has budgeted NIS 50 million to Sderot and Gaza border towns to build and reinforce welfare services in the area, including psychological treatment for children, care for young people traumatized by the security situation, aid for the elderly and special-needs populations, and more.
The Finance Ministry’s fund that is designed to compensate for property damage began surveying rocket-struck southern towns on Monday. Sixteen fam
ilies were evacuated from their homes, some were put up in hotels.
In addition, the Finance Ministry plans to propose regulations that would compensate parents who missed days of work because of school closures, and for tourism-related business owners and beekeepers for loss of income. The compensation will cover damages incurred from the beginning of May until the end of the fiscal year.
The regulations are subject to approval by the Knesset Finance Committee, and the panel’s head, Chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said he “will try, as always to move the compensation process as quickly as possible for people whose homes were damaged, and will generally work hard on whatever is connected to the Finance Committee to solve this matter as quickly as possible.”
Gafni also sent condolences to the families of those killed and prayed that the round of fighting would end as soon possible with few casualties.
Knesset Economics Committee Chairman Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union) called on the government to declare an economic emergency, an idea proposed by Zionist Union MK Eitan Broshi.
“The public does not see it, but every definition and every sentence has monetary significance, and we need to help the residents of the south,” Cabel said. The security situation has severely damaged businesses in the south, including agriculture, tourism, small businesses and others, he added.