Country’s residents worry about impending big earthquake

Several said the usual ‘yihiyeh beseder’ attitude needs to change.

By
July 16, 2018 05:12
3 minute read.

Footage of the earthquake in northern Israel captured by road cameras, July 4, 2018 (Netivei Israel)

Footage of the earthquake in northern Israel captured by road cameras, July 4, 2018 (Netivei Israel)

 
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Israelis have expressed deep concern over a probable, massive earthquake expected to hit the country in the near future following a series of small tremors in the North.

Speaking to residents from the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv areas, many expressed worry over the sturdiness of buildings, earthquake emergency plans and preparedness.

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Tour guide Samuel Green told The Jerusalem Post that although he’s not concerned about a massive earthquake on a day-to-day basis, the fact that “we get a very big one every 100 years or so” and “we are definitely due” for another one, worries him.

“It’s surprising to see a lack of public information and education about what to do in case of an earthquake – unlike the very good information about what to do in case of a rocket attack – and the lack of preparedness in [the] case of building regulations,” Green said. “[There is the] standard Israeli ‘yihyeh beseder’ (everything will be okay) attitude; [however, I am impressed] to see tsunami escape routes marked in Tel Aviv.”

Green said that his “friends laughed at me when I told them that criteria for an apartment was that the building had been strengthened.”

“Realistically in Tel Aviv,” Green said, “we’re less exposed than those along the fault line, where the historical impact of major earthquakes is very evident in the archaeology and geology.

“Ramle is only about 30 minutes away, and it was wiped out by an earthquake roughly a thousand years ago,” he added.



Yonah, from Tel Aviv, said that this constant “everything will be fine, don’t worry” attitude has to change if the country is going to deal with a big earthquake adequately. “Thousands could die and I don’t think enough precautions have been taken. This kind of an issue has been swept under the carpet because of all the conflicts we deal with on our border,” he said. “This has been forgotten.”

One woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said she has spent most of her army service preparing for the big earthquake. “All of the areas that are considered to be in danger – which is all of the places along the [Jordan] Rift – there’s going to be incredible amounts of damage and there’s a fear that there are not enough search-and-rescue teams to save people... imagine, building after building coming down,” she said.

Just working on one building can take days... the first 12 hours are crucial when it comes to saving people’s lives, so you can understand the stress of wanting to educate enough people to be prepared,” she added.

New mom Carly Pask, who also studied emergency and disaster relief management, said that because the pattern here is a big quake every 100 years or so, “people don’t believe that it’s a real threat here. Kind of ‘out of sight out of mind’,” she said. “We live on the seventh floor, which scares me. As soon as we can, we’re turning our ma’amad (safe room) into our daughter’s room. “I currently have a go bag with first aid supplies, food, water and diapers.”

Pask advises parents with babies to remember to have a similar type of bag with anything they need for their babies inside like formula, diapers, water for formula and baggies for dirty diapers.

Fellow mother Bracha Cramer also expressed her concerns, but figured that if she has “my ma’amad stocked and I am informed about what to in case an earthquake actually happens, I can’t do anything more than that. Worry solves no problems, just creates them.”

Lesley Anne Katz, who is a new immigrant and lives in Ra’anana, said that as “an olah chadasha this didn’t even feature on my list of things to worry about.

“I didn’t even know about it until we felt the tremors. I clearly need to find out more and see how we can be prepared. [It’s] scary,” she said.

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