Two powerful storm systems that hit Israel last week have left behind damage, estimated to be worth billions of shekels, authorities said Sunday.
Fierce storms and heavy rain pounded central and northern Israel for over a week as two storms hit the country one after the other. Massive flooding in cities and rivers caused major damage to homes, vehicles and infrastructure. The deadly storms claimed the lives of at least five people.
Roads were washed out by the heavy rain, pipe and drainage systems were damaged, many fences were either badly damaged or collapsed and electric systems as well as traffic lights were wrecked.
From data collected by the Bureau of Insurance Agents, damage to the private property is estimated to be round NIS 1.5 billion ($432 million). Although the estimates of the damage caused to the public property is unclear, it is believed to be in the hundreds of millions, bringing the total cost to over NIS 2 billion ($577 million).
Lior Rosenfeld, who heads the BIA, said that so far at least 50,000 damage claims have been filed by the insurance agents and are set to be submitted to the insurance companies.
According to Rosenfeld, damage to vehicles alone is estimated to be around NIS 900 million ($295 million). The damage to private homes is estimated at NIS 400 million ($115 million), while the damage to private businesses is estimated at NIS 200 million ($58 million).
Rosenfeld said in an interview with Ynet that the agents have received an unprecedented amount of damage claims in recent days.
The northern city of Nahariya that besieged by the floods, suffered the most damage from the unusually inclement weather, with infrastructure in some parts of the city completely destroyed.
The issue of transferring funds to repair the damage in the coastal city, as well as other ares in the country severly battered by the storms, was to be raised at a cabinet meeting on Sunday.
Accountant General Roni Hezekiah will have to sign off on a special permission to transfer the funds to aid the authorities since the current administration is effectively a caretaker government that cannot approve a budget for the upcoming year.
The state does not currently have a law in place that allows for compensation for damage done to private property as a result of natural hazards.
Therefore, only those who insured their property will have a right to a financial compensation.
According to BIA, cases where damage was a direct result of municipal negligence or poor building standards by local authorities are eligible for a compensation from the government.
Such claims, however, may be subject to a prolonged legal process, and it is doubtful whether the local authority will indeed be obliged in the end to compensate the owners of the damaged property.