New details gathered from Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon indicate that since January 2005, about 300 people were hurt by Qassam rocket attacks in the city of Sderot and the communities of the western Negev.
Surprisingly, the hospital which absorbs most of the wounded from Qassam attacks is not adequately protected from them.
The numbers indicate that during the first nine and a half months of 2006, 202 people were hurt by Qassams, more than double of the 87 from last year.
The most active month in that aspect was July of 2006 during the war in the north with 85 people. Before that, when the Gilad Shalit was kidnapped 27 people were hurt.
During August of 2005, the time of the disengagement from Gaza, there were virtually no rocket attacks from Gaza, and only one person was evacuated to the emergency room of the hospital.
A large part of those who were evacuated to the hospital suffered from shock, but there were those who were injured severely and even some killed.
'Treasury does not want to give money'
Hospital CEO Dr. Shimon Sharf said that despite the huge number of injured, nobody thinks that the hospital should be protected from Qassam attacks.
"Up until this point, the treasury has not been convinced that there is a need to protect the emergency room so we could deal with the Qassam threat and other security threats," he said.
In order to deal with the threat, the hospital, in conjunction with the ministry of health, contacted an independent donor who is willing to transfer a sum of NIS 10 million (USD 2.3 million), about half of the cost of the project.
"We have a completed plan, all we need is the okay from the government and the rest of the funds in order to build a protected emergency room, but the treasury does not want to give the money," Dr. Sharf said
In response to an inquiry from Ynet, the Finance Ministry said that the ministry of health is responsible for allocating the construction budget between the hospitals. The statement said that the Ministry of Health has a construction budget and the decision is in their hands.
"It is important to mention that during the 2006 budgetary discussions, the Ministry of Health was given NIS 150 million (USD 35 million) for the 2006-2008 budget years. In addition, during the 2007 budgetary discussions, an additional NIS 60 million (USD 14 million) were given for the years 2007-2009."