The unusual snowstorm that swept Jerusalem last month will cost the capital more than $80 million in damages, Mayor Nir Barkat said Wednesday.
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Appearing before the Knesset Finance Committee, Barkat demanded that the state compensate the municipality for the estimated 290 million shekel cost of repairs. "This was a tsunami that the city has never seen before," Barkat said. "The state must recognize this storm as a natural disaster."
"The municipality expects the government to volunteer and provide significant financial assistance to enable the city to return to its pre-storm state and to ensure that the damage does not fall on the residents' shoulders and double their suffering," he said.
The storm caused damages to the infrastructure, to schools, playgrounds and public parks, to street and outdoor lighting structures, "wear and tear" on the streets and sidewalks, and general safety hazards.
The city also lost some 31 million shekels (nearly $90 million) from declaring a state of emergency during the three-day snow storm.
"The government of Israel must give preference to Jerusalem," Barkat said. "The storm hit many parts of the country hard, and affected all of its residents. The city of Jerusalem was the first to offer help to the residents of the north and the south, and now it's time to enlist to help the capital of Israel, to transfer the necessary funds that will enable us to bring the city back to where it was before the storm."
Public transport was still paralyzed even after the storm, snow and fallen trees blocked and many streets and thousands remained without power. Schools were closed for days.