The IDF Home Front Command will hold a nationwide drill this month aimed at preparing emergency services and the general population for the scenario of a destructive earthquake.

The drill, Turning Point 6, will commence on October 21 and will be unique among Home Front exercises by focusing on a natural disaster, rather than simulating missile attacks from multiple fronts, as it has done in the past.

Officials led by IDF Home Front Command chief Maj.- Gen. Eyal Izenberg presented the main scenarios for this year’s drill to Homeland Defense Minister Avi Dichter on Wednesday.

The drill will be more intense than past exercises, Izenberg said, adding, “We want to achieve a better emergency awareness among the public, emergency response organizations and government ministries.”

“The more that civilians are prepared, the more we can lower the number of casualties,” he added.

Israel sits on the active Syrian- African fault line, and geologists have warned that the region is due for a major earthquake. Geologists have predicted a quake measuring at least a six on the Richter scale in the coming years.

The last major earthquake struck the area in 1927, killing 300 people in Jerusalem and Jericho.

In 1837, some 4,000 people were killed when an earthquake centered near Lake Kinneret rocked the area.

In this month’s drill, a mock earthquake will occur in the Arava area of the south and the upper Galilee in the north, causing widespread destruction in the Gush Dan metropolitan area. The drill will include scenarios of tsunami waves striking Tel Aviv beaches.

Planners of the exercise will ask emergency services to deal with 7,000 “casualties,” 70,000 injuries and 170,000 displaced people.

Dichter said that the threat of an earthquake is more severe than the threat posed by enemy missiles directed at Israel.

“If I could choose between the scenario of an earthquake and the scenario of a missile attack on Israel, I’d choose the second, because of the scope of damage [that an earthquake would cause], and [because of] our deterrence abilities,” Dichter said during Wednesday’s briefing.

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