Dalia Yosef, head of the Sderot Trauma Center, reported to Sderot Media Center that 25% of the annual budget of NIS 6 million for five trauma centers in the western Negev and Sderot has been allocated in the first week of June. The Knesset Ministries of Seniors and Regional Development of the Negev and Galilee have allocated NIS 1.5 million to five trauma centers in the western Negev and Sderot which will keep local centers running until December 2009.

The Sderot Trauma Center treats 620 patients, of whom 80% are children. Speaking with Sderot Media Center on Monday, June 1, Yosef stated “it will take years to rehabilitate a population suffering from PTSD. Having the centers open for only six months is in no way near enough time to reach any sort of treatment results or plan out future therapy treatments. “

Yosef also noted that the financial assistance is not enough keep her staff of psychologists and social workers financially secure. “My staff knows that they will have to fight again during these six months for future budget assistance.”

As sporadic rocket fire from Gaza continues, new patients arrive to seek treatment. The Sderot Trauma Center, also known as Merkaz Hosen, is the only institution that offers rehabilitation treatments for children.

Dr. Adriana Katz, head of the Sderot Mental Health Center and Shock Treatment Center (which operates under the Trauma Center) also pointed out to Sderot Media Center that half a year is not sufficient time to provide suitable treatment for trauma victims.

Photo Credit: Anav Silverman

“We are talking about patients who have post trauma stress disorder symptoms (PTSD) which need much more than six months of treatment. There has been no post yet to the trauma disorders as Qassams continue to strike the region,” pointed out Dr. Katz.

“Since Operation Cast Lead, over 500 new patients have sought treatment at the Sderot Mental Health Center,” said Dr. Katz. The Sderot Mental Health Center offers therapy only for adults.

Dr. Katz also added that since the last Qassam attack on Sderot on May 19, there have been 60 new requests for treatment at the Sderot Mental Health Center. The May 19 Qassam slammed between two homes in the heart of a Sderot residential neighborhood, sending 8 people into shock and injuring one woman.

Sderot has been under Gaza rocket fire since 2001. It is estimated that today 80% of Sderot children now suffer from symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, according to research from the NATAL Institute (Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War) released in 2008.


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