JERUSALEM (Mar. 29)
Finance Minister Levi Eshkol said today that last week’s rains were worth about 20,000,000 pounds to rain-starved Israel. He told the finance committee of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, that the rains had led agricultural experts to cut estimates of drought damage from 80,000,000 to 60,000,000 pounds.
The committee approved advance relief payments of 10,000,000 pounds to the worsthit farmers. Total relief needed has been estimated at about 30,000,000 pounds ($16,800,000).
Three days of continuous rain have helped to maintain in part subterranean water levels and will help pasture areas but cannot at this late stage help field crops which in some areas are beyond recovery, officials said today. Some 70,000,000 cubic meters of water have been added to Israel’s water resources by the rain which ended the worst drought in Israel’s recorded history.