Beaches get tsunami-safe with series of signs along coast

By
March 24, 2016 00:01

The Mediterranean Sea has a history of tsunamis, with 25 percent of all those ever recorded occurring in this area, the ministry said.

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Jogging on the beach is a national sport. The sign encourages people to vote ‘yes’ in a national referendum held on March 20. (photo credit:SETH J. FRANTZMAN)

Although a tsunami might not affect Israel until 2206, the Defense Ministry decided to start warning beachgoers of Tsunami dangers by installing a series of signs at beaches.

The Mediterranean Sea has a history of tsunamis, with 25 percent of all those ever recorded occurring in this area, the ministry said. Tsunamis occur off Israel’s coast every 100 years on average, with the storms causing damage approximately every 250 years, it added. Israel gets tsunami warnings roughly every three months, according the ministry, as they are often set off by earthquakes.

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However, the last warning came on April 16, 2015, following a 6.1-Richter earthquake off the coast of Crete Some of the new signs point toward evacuations routes while others instruct people in Hebrew and Arabic to find a high place and take shelter in a safe space.

The initial batch of signs, part of a pilot project initiated by the ministry’s National Emergency Authority, were placed at beaches in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ashdod Port and the Rutenberg Power Station, but the aim is to install them all along the coast.

The last tsunami recorded off Israel’s shores occurred in 1956, as a result of a large earthquake in Greek waters, University of Haifa marine biologist Dr. Beverly Goodman said in 2014. The last tsunami to cause any damage in Israel took place in the 19th century near Acre, while other locales such Caesarea most recently experienced a small tsunami in the 12th century.

Sharon Udasin contributed to this report.

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