An apartment building in Holon in central Israel collapsed on Sunday, one day after it was evacuated due to safety concerns, leaving 36 families homeless and bereft of any basic necessities.
Loud crash and then…
Residents of the building on Serlin Street reported hearing a loud crash on Saturday morning and many were unable to open the doors to their apartments, becoming trapped inside. After the incident, engineers decided to evacuate the building immediately.
חולון הבוקר: בבניין ישן ברחוב סרלין התגלה סדק עמוק, התושבים פונו מהבניין. חברת החשמל ניתקה אותו. 16 משפחות נמצאות בהלם טוטאלי. אין ספק שנמנע אסון כבד מאוד. pic.twitter.com/thCQSTJGVA
— Eliran Malki ▪️ אלירן מלכי (@eliranmalki) September 11, 2021
The haste with which the residents left is evident in the video of the collapse in which several apartments still have laundry hanging to dry.
The building spontaneously collapsed on Sunday afternoon, 30 hours after the residents left. Blessedly, no injuries were reported but the evacuation had been carried out with such urgency that all of their belongings now lie under the rubble.
חולון,קריסת הבניין מזווית נוספת👇 pic.twitter.com/zFOXx4DzRD
— Real News IL (@RealNewsIL) September 12, 2021
“They knocked on the door really hard and took us out of the building. People were in pajamas, with babies, elderly people,” one resident told Kan News.
Starting life anew with nothing but the clothes on their backs
Despite escaping death, the former residents are hard-pressed to begin life anew with literally just the clothes on their backs.
“People came from the municipality, they gave us water and sandwiches, which is the bare minimum. We expected more assistance — for someone to take us, or update us on what is going on,” a resident told Kan. “There are cancer patients and infants and they sent us all to sleep at the community center. This is chaos. We don’t know what to do,” the resident added.
“We look at the ruins and realize that our lives have been destroyed, alongside our memories and belongings. We’re now in the street and have nowhere to go,” Naor Navon told Y-Net.””City hall provided us with a disgraceful solution. They opened a community center for us, with mattresses on the floor and sleeping bags, where 32 families are expected to live without showers and with just one toilet restroom? It’s a disgrace.”
Residents of the adjacent building were also evacuated. The building was damaged in the collapse and the residents have yet to be permitted to return to their homes.
Year of tragedies
The incident is reminiscent of an incident in June in which a 12-story apartment building in Surfside, Florida collapsed suddenly in the middle of the night, killing 98 people, making it the third-deadliest structural engineering failure in United States history.
Israel is still reeling from a year of deadly events. In April, on the holiday of Lag Ba’Omer during the annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mount Meron, 45 people were killed and over 150 injured in the worst peacetime tragedy in modern Israeli history.
The next month, 2 people were killed and over 160 injured when bleachers in a synagogue in Givat Zeev north of Jerusalem collapsed.