Unprepared? The home front lacks sufficient readiness for emergencies due to the failures by local municipalities, the Interior Ministry and the National Emergency Management Authority, a report published by the State Comptroller's Office stated Tuesday.
Justice (Ret.) Micha Lindenstrauss' report states that during times of warfare or national emergencies involving the home front, the main burden is placed on the local authorities and therefore they must be prepared in advance.
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The report's findings show that local authorities failed to function properly in all areas during Home Front Command emergency drills, and that some of the scenarios that were simulated during the exercises uncovered deficiencies that were not properly addressed, including insufficient interface between the different authorities.
Lindenstrauss further noted that because cities are required to get a lot done in a short period of time, policy makers must decide, without delay, which municipal body will be responsible for emergency readiness, and approve the resources required in order to provide the proper protection for residents.
Hundreds of thousands without shelterThe state comptroller's report also criticized the Interior Ministry, saying it does not have data on which local authorities held drills between 2008 and 2010, what was practiced during the drill, and the results of these exercises, although the information is required in order to determine the general preparedness of local authorities.
The report also noted that the Interior Ministry and National Emergency Management Authority do not have statistics on the number of shelters, their location and condition in each of the municipalities, including public shelters, private shelters, and shelters located in shared in apartment buildings and public institutions.
Damp shelters with no electricity (Photo: Roee Idan)
Lindenstrauss warned that the data collected indicates that hundreds of thousands of residents do not have a designated shelter for times of emergency, pointing to severe impairments such as shelters that are not connected to electricity and severe dampness.
The report examined shelters in the southern city of Ofakim, which is within the rocket range from the Gaza Strip, and found that most schools have only partial fortification means. In addition, 55 out of a total of 60 kindergartens in the city had no fortification or partial fortification at best.
No data on drill results (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Lindenstrauss wrote in the report that the municipalities' state of preparedness for emergency situations is extremely insufficient and points to a prolonged policy of negligence.
The Interior Ministry said in response that "the Ministry sees the utmost importance in the readiness of municipalities for emergency situations.
"However, the framework of legislations and government decisions on this matter were determined based on the assumption that the professional knowledge and resources belong to the security establishment, and it has the duty and capabilities to enforce and implement the policies," the statement read.
The IDF said that "the IDF seas municipalities as the core of the home front and make sure to train and guide their officials for a state of emergency.
"The Home Front Command cannot take the place of the mayors in a time of emergency and believes the home front draws its strength from the local leadership."
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