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Sderot: 55% Hurt in Attacks

by Maayana Miskin

( More than 55 percent of Sderot residents have suffered direct or indirect physical injury or mental shock as the result of a Kassam rocket attack, according to a new poll. The poll was conducted by the NATAL group for terrorism victims and was published Monday.

More than 90 percent of Sderot residents said they had heard or seen a rocket strike. More than 65 percent said they were personally acquainted with someone who suffered physical injury in a rocket attack, and 48.4 percent said they knew someone who was killed in a rocket attack.

Children were particularly hard hit by the attacks: While 11.4 percent of Sderot’s population reported suffering intense fear, that number rose to 74.2 percent for children between the ages of seven and 12. More than 86 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 14 in Sderot suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress. One third of high school students said their academic performance had suffered due to the attacks.

Dr. Roni Berger of NATAL said the suffering in Sderot was more acute than that found in other Gaza belt communities. The explanation is twofold, he said: Sderot suffers frequent attacks, and it also has less social cohesion than the kibbutzim (cooperative communities) and other small communities near Gaza. “In Sderot the problem isn’t just the unusually poor fortification, but also the weaker population. The social cohesion is weaker.”

Sderot’s population feels the government has done nothing to help, Berger added. “This is a population that felt, and still feels, abandoned. And I believe rightly so,” he said.

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