Israel unprepared for the next massive earthquake, experts say

i24NEWS

3 min read
Members of Israel's Honor Guard, Home Front Command, Firefighters, army, and Israel's Magen David Adom Emergency Medical Services participate in an emergency drill simulating an earthquake near Ashkelon, southern Israel, on December 19, 2019.
Yaniv Nadav/Flash90Members of Israel's Honor Guard, Home Front Command, Firefighters, army, and Israel's Magen David Adom Emergency Medical Services participate in an emergency drill simulating an earthquake near Ashkelon, southern Israel, on December 19, 2019.

'Approximately every 100 years we have a very strong earthquake in Israel... we are expecting a big one'

Israeli national security experts predict that a massive earthquake will hit Israel in the coming years, and some say that the country is not prepared for the potential destruction. 

The last major earthquake to shake Israel struck in 1927 - over 500 people died and more than 300 buildings collapsed when the 6.5 Richter scale quake hit the Dead Sea Valley region.

Today, if a same-sized earthquake hits Israel, experts warn that it would be disastrous. 

“Approximately every 100 years we have a very strong earthquake in Israel, so we are expecting a big one to come,” Col. (ret.) Gili Shenhar, spokesperson for Israel's Home Front in Emergencies, told i24NEWS.

“It will be between 6.5-7.5 on the Richter scale. It's a matter of when, and we have to prepare ourselves.”

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Israel is located on the border of the African tectonic plate where many quakes occur, stretching from the Red Sea in the Gulf of Eilat of southern Israel through the Jordan Valley to Turkey in the north.

A 2018 State Comptroller report warned that Israel is unprepared to deal with such a natural disaster, indicating that it would severely damage fuel lines, water systems, general transportation, and all kinds of buildings.

“[Israelis] don't think about earthquakes. I found that almost every building in my neighborhood was deemed structurally unsafe by the municipality,” said i24NEWS correspondent Amalia Roy.

Roy, who grew up in northern California, United States, where earthquakes are common, noted some basic safety tips.

“Knowing how to get out of the house, having the basics like flashlights, candles, or dry food.”

While Israel is reportedly testing early-warning systems in the event of a potential earthquake, experts say that at this point, the best way to protect oneself is through education.