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A family of three from Givatayim has been living in conditions described as "shocking" by officials, amid heaps of garbage, blocked sewage pipes and hundreds of mice and cockroaches running around.

A mother and her two children - one in his late teens and another in her early twenties - apparently used to sleep on the trash bags that were scattered all over the apartment.

"It was absolutely shocking," a municipality worker who visited the site said. "I've never seen anything remotely like it. When we looked at the front window from the street level, the shatters looked broken and filthy, and cockroaches were coming out through them.

"When we got in, we saw stacks of garbage, and mice and cockroaches running everywhere. It was like a small landfill."

The neighbors, who had suffered from the stench and pests, sent a pleading letter to the mayor, who in turn instructed the sanitation officer to tackle the health hazard at once.

"About six months ago I started to smell an awful stench in the building," a neighbor said. "We all suffered from a bout of rodents."

The sanitation officer, Pini Edri, accompanied by a team of municipal workers, persuaded the woman to let them in without a court warrant.

The family has been treated by the Givatayim welfare services for years, but they never let anyone into their apartment. Several complaints have been filed against them throughout the years, but no measures have been taken.

"We've been suffering and begging the municipality for three years," another neighbor said. She also said that the staircase has been disinfected in the past.

The municipality moved the family to a hostel, cleared the apartment and disinfected the entire building at its own expense, due to the urgency of the hygienic condition.