TEL AVIV (Dec. 19)
The six-day storm which has been sweeping Israel wrecking temporary tents and huts in which immigrants live, beating down crops and disrupting normal activities today claimed its first two lives as a blown high tension wire electrocuted a man in Tel Aviv and a suddenly flooded wadi drowned a member of a kibbutz near Lake Tiberias.
At least ten settlements, including several maabarot, were cut off when their roads were inundated by flood waters. Food supplies were parachuted to Kibbutz Gallil, while special army units fought seas of mud to bring supplies to the settlements in the Judean Hills. Children from immigrant villages in the Jerusalem area have been taken to Jerusalem where they are receiving shelter in the public institutions. Work resumed on the Haifa docks this morning after having been halted yesterday because of the torrential rains. The industrial area of lower Haifa has been flooded and special rescue squads have been evacuating victims of the flood to shelters on high ground.
Additional hundreds of immigrant families were evacuated from their temporary homes yesterday. While special police and army details labored with the evacuees, other units were attempting to repair the damages to tents caused by the high winds. The storm is threatening to deal a severe blow to Israel’s economy. The rains, which were badly needed by crops starved for water, have reached the point where they threaten to wash out many crops, particularly the citrus crop, upon which Israel depends for considerable foreign exchange.