Israel allocates millions to repair Carmel fire damage


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has allocated millions of dollars to repair the damage caused by the Carmel wildfire.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz instructed the government to release the funds following a decision made by the Carmel Rehabilitation Steering Committee headed by Eyal Gabai, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The assistance will help in the construction of permanent homes, compensating residents, assisting in the rehabilitation of the communities, rehabilitating the Carmel forests, resuming cultural activities, and repairing damages to agriculture and infrastructures, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Some $16 million will be allocated to rehabilitating the flora and fauna in the Carmel forests. This is in accordance with the outline formulated by the Environmental Protection and Agriculture and Rural Development ministries.

The funding is in addition to the $38 million allocated for the area’s restoration immediately following the four-day fire last December in northern Israel, near Haifa, that was called the largest in the nation’s history.

"Today we are taking another significant step for the communities and the residents who were damaged and hurt in the Carmel wildfire," Netanyahu said. "These are not statements but steps that are being taken on the ground, quickly and tangibly."

Some 42 people were killed, about 250 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, 17,000 people were forced to evacuate, more than 12,000 acres were burned and an estimated 5 million trees were lost in the blaze.

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