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I moved from dank, dark North Manchester, U.K. to Karmiel, Western Galilee, Israel in March 2010. It is, believe me, one of the sunniest, loveliest towns on earth. With a background in local Jewish journalism I continue to write freelance. I manage several blogs, have  appeared on Technorati and Blogcritics and now contribute to the online magazine, 'Live Encounters'. My main blog is Alwayswriteagain (http://wwwalwayswriteagain.blogspot.com

Monday, 6 December 2010

Carmel Clean-Up Begins Even While Final Fires Rage

Article first published as http://technorati.com/lifestyle/article/carmel-clean-up-begins-even-while/ on Technorati

SUPERTANKER.IN.ACTIONThe Israeli authorities may be feeling bloodied and bowed but the terrible task of cleaning up after the Carmel Forest fires has begun even before the final flames have been extinguished.

During an extraordinary 24 hours in which Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas has offered help and sincere condolences and several people have been arrested in connection with setting fires, the costs of the past three-and-a-half days’ inferno are thus:

  • More than 40 dead
  • Dozens of severe burn injuries
  • Five million trees destroyed.

  • More than 12,300 acres of land wiped out.

  • Three communities ruined. 

  • Seventy-four buildings burned on Kibbutz Beit Oren, the Ein Hod artists’ village, and the Yamon-Ord boarding school, and a further 173 buildings partially burned.

  • Almost 17,000 people  evacuated from their homes, from Israel Prison Service facilities,  hospitals and military jails

  • NIS 3 - 4 billion – the equivalent of $700M or £445M.

But the Israel Treasury says some of the money will be paid by insurance companies.

“The figure is the estimated payment to homeowners whose property has been damaged, cleaning up the damage to the Carmel National Park, and the increased funding that will be given to Israel's firefighting efforts as a result of the fire”, according to Israel National News – Arutz Sheva.

"It's true that there are a number of sites where the fire is still active and we are concentrating our efforts there, but generally speaking if you look at the whole area of operations, it's better, more optimistic," fire-fighters' spokesman Boaz Rakia said.

He added that while it would take days to extinguish the fire completely, he hoped it might be brought under control today.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed two teenage brothers have been arrested on suspicion of causing the fire through negligence. There are unconfirmed reports of other arrests.

While some Israelis are bitter and some Facebook users have described the catastrophe as “the new intifada”, many others are already starting the arduous job of cleaning up and re-building their lives, even before the final flames are doused.

Police have already authorised evacuated residents of Nir Etzion, Ein Hod and Ein Hawd to return home but those from  Beit Oren have been ordered to remain away.


  • Shimon Dayan, who was among early victims of the fire, was buried at Karmiel Military Cemetery yesterday at 1.00 p.m.


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