Residents of the Gaza periphery have about 10 to 15 seconds to get to safety when they hear a red alert signaling an incoming rocket. About 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Gaza, residents have 45 seconds to reach a protected area.
Now imagine the 120 residents who live at ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran, a home for people with severe physical and mental disabilities.
“It’s a very complicated situation, and these are really challenging days for us,” Avi Wortzman, CEO of ALEH in Ofakim, said. “We have people with cognitive and physical disabilities who are completely dependent on staff to get them to safe spaces. These people can’t move on their own, and we need to make sure that within 45 seconds everyone is in a safe place.”
During these times, Wortzman said the staff moves necessary medical equipment and beds into protected areas in order to sleep there at night.
Most residents are unable to grasp the situation and some have trouble dealing with change, Wortzman said. But otherwise it would be impossible to move 120 people to shelter in time in case of a siren.
“We don’t know what they understand, but we think most of them don’t understand the situation,” Wortzman said. “That’s more dangerous, because if you don’t understand that when you hear the siren you need to go into the safe area, it means it’s totally on the staff to get them to the safe areas.”
Pic: Aleh Youtube Channel