Sderot eyewitness: 'This Russian roulette has to stop'

A young woman at the scene appeared to be crying and laughing all at once.

Kassam fire ap 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Kassam fire ap 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
"They said municipality workers would be fired if they leave Sderot. So I had to stay here with a sick 71-year-old mother and a seven-year-old son," complained Darina Nadetzki Friday as she waited for her mother to be treated at Sderot's Hosen Center for trauma victims, shortly after a Kassam rocket had shaken the building in which they live. Darina's diabetic mother was afraid to stay alone in her house during the weekend, so she came to stay with her single mother daughter and grandson. They and the rest of the residents of the town's Neveh Eshkol neighborhood were angry and upset after a Kassam landed right next to the building they live in during the late afternoon, damaging almost all nearby houses. By the time the police and Magen David Adom arrived at the scene, their emotions boiled over, making it almost impossible for the rescue forces to evacuate the wounded and cordon off the scene of the attack. "Where is the prime minister now? Sitting at home, doing nothing for us, the sitting ducks. This Russian roulette has to be stopped," shouted Michel, a young resident who came down from his apartment to the street shirtless, as did many others. A young woman at the scene appeared to be crying and laughing all at once. "Did you see what it did to our windows?" she asked one of her neighbors, pointing in the distance. "My mother suffers from severe diabetes. It's hard for her to move under normal circumstances, but she was completely paralyzed after the Kassam fell. I called MDA to come and evacuate her," said Darina back at the trauma center. Even if they could have made it to the bomb shelter, its bad condition convinced them to give up on that idea. Darina's son Yaron was overcome by the incident and kept vomiting. When they arrived at the trauma clinic, he was carrying his grandmother's purse and his mother's mobile phone and looked worried. "Granny, would you like some more water?" he asked her repeatedly. Three more shock victims were evacuated to center. "One of them has a history of severe attacks so we sent him to the hospital," said Gil Barazani, a reserve paramedic from Jerusalem who arrived in town on Thursday. Another paramedic was talking to Sarah, Darina's mother, trying to calm her down and asking her medical and personal questions with Yaron serving as translator. Whenever a difficult question was asked, Yaron turned to his mother and asked for her help. "On a regular shift the trauma center has one doctor, one nurse, one mental health officer and a paramedic," explained Barazani. "After a Kassam event most shock patients are evacuated by MDA paramedics to here and some of them arrive independently, accompanied by family members," he said as he bandaged another young patient. "If a patient arrives here slightly wounded, we bandage him and give him first aid. Then we check their blood pressure, pulse, breathing and body temperature. After calming them down, talking to them and finding out their medical history, we check them once again and send them to speak to the mental health officer." Barazani explained that this routine had been developed after the Second Lebanon War and was meant to assess the level of the residents' psychological damage after such an incident. However, it was impossible to reach all those suffering from shock in the area. Meanwhile Lior, one of MDA's dozens of volunteers who spent Shabbat in Sderot, had another cup of coffee and said: "I think I'm not going to go to sleep tonight. I have a strong feeling that something big is about to happen and I hate to be woken up and rush to a scene like that." At the town center earlier in the day, the proprietors of a local supermarket and a steakhouse discussed the effect the situation is having on their clients. "Your customers have to pay cash when they buy at your restaurant? Because mine don't," said the supermarket owner. "One of my clients just finished her shopping and when she came to pay she realized that she took the TV remote control instead of her purse and put it under her armpit," both of them breaking out laughing. "People are losing their minds here."