Carmel Fire: 250 Houses Destroyed, Damage Estimated at NIS 270 Million

Four government work teams appointed to deal with damage in the Carmel; cabinet secretary: citizens have insurance coverage, but it's partial.

A short time after assessing that the wildfire, which has been raging since Thursday in Carmel, was under control, the various government ministries presented their plans for dealing with the damage created in its wake.

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On Sunday, cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser announced the creation of an inter-ministerial team with four sub-teams that will have comprehensive authority to deal with the aftermath of the disaster.

According to Hauser, the first sub-team is charged with "getting life back on track" in the affected areas. This will include restoring damaged infrastructure as quickly as possible.

The major affected areas include Ein Hod, Nir Etzion, Beit Oren and Yemin Orde.

Based on initial estimates, 250 housing units were severely damaged.

Also, it is estimated that the damage to the affected communities and to property will run between NIS 120-150 million, along with about another NIS 120 million in damage to forests and roads.

Hauser also stated on Sunday that the initial response will likely include temporary housing units in areas where the damage cannot be immediately repaired. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu estimated that these temporary housing units will be in use for approximately 60 days. Assessments and detailed plans of action are expected from the sub-team within seven days.

The second sub-team is charged with aiding residents of the affected areas. It will be headed by Minister Yitzhak Herzog. The sub-team will deal with residents' needs directly, including special-needs populations, and with generally strengthening the affected communities.

Coordinating organizations who offer help to the Carmel region will also be the responsibility of the second sub-team.

The third sub-team will focus on rehabilitation of the Carmel forests. This group will have 21 days to assess the overall damage and offer its recommendations.

The fourth sub-team will be responsible for mapping out the damage and examining issues of insurance coverage.

"We must realize that this is not a simple issue. Some of the residents affected by the wildfire have insurance coverage, but insurance doesn't cover all the damage," said Hauser. "We must address property damage claims made by all citizens. However, we must be careful not to undermine the current insurance market model in Israel."

The fourth sub-team has four days to map out the damage and another four days to figure out what to do for those citizens who are not covered by insurance, or those that have only partial coverage.