Over a quarter of Israelis lack a bomb shelter in close proximity to their homes in case of missile attacks, a new state comptroller report said on Monday.
A full 28% of the Israeli populations – about 2.6 million Israelis – lack a shelter to run to if red sirens alert an incoming missile. This number includes 50,000 people who live within 5.6 miles (9 kilometers) of Israel’s tense northern border and 231,000 Israelis living within 24.8 miles (40 kilometers) of the Gaza border in southern Israel.
However, Israelis living within closer proximity to the Gaza border, up to four miles away (seven kilometers), all have proper shelters following the implementation of government initiatives.
According to the report by State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman, public shelters throughout Israel were found to be in a state of disrepair, with a full 50% of public shelters unfit for use.
Only 38% of Israelis have bomb shelters at home, 27% need to use public bomb shelters which are found in some high-rise apartment blocks, and 6% – about 500,000 people -are forced to use public shelters outside their homes or buildings.
Some good news cited by the report was that the Home Front Command renovated over 500 public shelters in the north following a cabinet decision in 2018 to ensure that communities within 12 miles (19 kilometers) of the northern border have serviceable public shelters.
“The Home Front Command should continue its work providing shelters in the north,” the report said.
The report also censured the government and IDF for not developing evacuation plans for Israeli citizens living in close proximity to the border in case of an escalation in cross-border tensions.
The IDF responded to the report by shifting the blame on the government, saying that plans have not been implemented due to delayed budgets and also noted that local authorities are responsible for maintaining public shelters.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)