Schools and other structures in Israel are woefully unprepared for earthquakes, according to reports brought to the attention of the Knesset State Control Committee on Tuesday. The Education Ministry started a project to strengthen school buildings back in 2010, but of the 1,600 buildings that need work, only 34 have undergone strengthening.
The problems facing the schools, hospitals, and public housing were blamed largely on bureaucratic difficulties in the transfer of payments and the tender process.
Amir Alon, who represented the Environmental Protection Ministry at the meeting, warned the committee of some 200 factories, housing dangerous materials and in close proximity to civilian populations, that pose a hazard in the case of an earthquake. Supervision of the factories was stopped due to legal reasons and unprofessional guidelines, he said.
MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid), who chairs the committee, directed the Education Ministry to present a plan for school structures in two weeks time, and instructed the Environmental Protection Ministry to harshly punish those factories that put the lives of citizens at risk due to insufficient supervision and protection of hazardous materials