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SHEKEL emergency response as Jerusalem snow storm poses threat to people with disabilities

The record-breaking snow storm that hit Israel’s Capital this past week, hit people with disabilities with particular vengeance. People with special needs are known to be the most vulnerable sectors of the population in times of emergency, and Jerusalem’s snow storm, which closed down the entire city, proved no exception. As electricity cuts wreaked havoc throughout the country, a number of SHEKEL’s 80 apartments found themselves totally without heat or light for over 12 hours

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Five young wheelchair-bound women who live together in a SHEKEL apartment found themselves without electricity for 20 hours. The bitter cold posed an immediate threat to them as people who are wheelchair-bound are unable to preserve their body heat through physical activity. The team of SHEKEL counselors took emergency measures, massaging all the apartment residents once an hour in order to maintain their body heat. Hadar, one of the residents described the experience: “At some point the situation became very worrying as we were unable to recharge critical personal equipment that we need for daily living, it was also bitterly cold. But we felt a strong sense of togetherness and we coped. The SHEKEL counselors helped us and created a good atmosphere

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Despite the complicated logistics involved, SHEKEL staff were able to answer the multiple needs of SHEKEL apartment residents throughout the city. They are still working in emergency mode, reaching many of the apartments blocked by snow, by foot (SHEKEL apartments in East Jerusalem are all still blocked by snow and are only accessible by foot.

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