In Sderot, people have 15 seconds to run for their life when they hear an alarm because a rocket bomb will fall on the city. Before, this alarm was a siren. At the sound of the sirens immediately everybody in the 25.000 populated city started to run for a nearby concrete shelter that is safe. Nowadays the sirens have changed for a voice telling ‘code red’, because the life-threatening rockets fell so often at Sderot that it was difficult to bear the sound of the sirens all the time. During the last 10 years, 8.000 rockets hit Sderot…
Imagine if you had to run for a rocket once a day, just once a day: how would you feel? And how alert would you be, knowing that when the signal came, you had 15 seconds to reach a safe shelter? It means you’d have to know all the shelters in the places you regularly visit and that you’d always be aware of the distance between yourself and those shelters (as 30 seconds is too late and could mean death).
Nevertheless, with 25.000 people, Sderot has a shopping center. The parking lot in front of this shopping center counts 3 concrete shelters so that everybody who comes to the center can be sure to find safety on time when he/she will be surprised by a rocket while shopping. They sell nice stuff and they are really surprised when you buy a shirt but don’t speak the national language; Sderot is not a town where tourists use to pass by….
It is almost impossible to understand how this mixture of normal life and rockets effects adults ànd children in Sderot. Especially children are traumatized but also adults can be stressed and quite affected by the continuous tension. Just try to run for your life 3 times a day and see what it does to your mood, your emotions, your productivity and your hope for the future. Then imagine that you live this situation hundreds of times a year. Maybe you cannot imagine. But it is real in Sderot… since many years.