Many of Sderot's children suffer from trauma-related anxiety stemming from the daily Qassam rocket attacks on the city. As trauma victims they receive psychiatric treatment at a city clinic which operates as a branch of the Barzilai children's psychiatric clinic in Ashkelon.
But the clinic in Sderot is unfortified and is at risk of being shut down after a rocket landed on an adjacent street last Wednesday.
Some 30 children are treated at the clinic and the waiting list is much longer. "We've asked to be moved to a fortified location. The current structure is a small building which also facilitates adult patients," says Dr. Ilana Bason, director of the psychiatric clinic for children and youth at Barzilai.
The children treated at the clinic suffer from anxiety that manifests itself in fear of being outside the home, sleeping in their parents' bed, leaving the door open when they shower, oversensitivity to any noise, some suffer from bed wetting.
"Outside of school they basically have no lives," says Dr. Bason, "this is the only place that can help them but the day the rocket fell near the clinic the children refused to come."
'Child confronted with rockets a second time'
The medical staff also fears how effective treatment will be says Dr. Bason: "You can't treat a child when you're feeling insecure, when there's a siren we stand close to the call, there's no where to run to from there and that only adds to their anxiety."
A' is the mother of a 12-year-old who has been treated at the clinic for a long time.
"The only thing a child like him has is his therapist," she says, "but when the rockets fell on Wednesday, when he needed her the most, the clinic had to close down."
Barzilai CEO Dr. Shimon Sharf demands that hospitals and clinics be fortified: "We've warned of Qassams falling on unfortified sites in the past and unfortunately we've been proven correct. Rockets fired on traumatized children is adding sin to crime.
"Not only has the child been injured from the rockets and is in need of rehabilitation, but now he is being confronted with it a second time. The Finance Ministry must allocate the funds needed to fortify the hospital and its branches."