An IDF soldier sits on a beach in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Education Ministry, in cooperation with the Home Front Command and local authorities, held an tsunami exercise in schools throughout the country for the first time on Tuesday.
The tsunami drill was held in seven schools in municipalities near the coast, including Tel Aviv and Haifa, and saw the activation of a new Home Front Command siren that will alert people to the threat of a tsunami.
As part of the preparations for the drill, preliminary exercises were held in several schools throughout the country, and instructions were given to the students by the Home Front Command’s Emergency Commanders’ Network.
“The Home Front Command will continue to work on the preparedness of educational institutions for emergencies by constant training, as part of a comprehensive set of exercises throughout the year,” the army said.
Israel is situated along the Syrian-African fault line, which runs along the border between Israel and Jordan, part of the Great Rift Valley, encompassing the area from northern Syria to Mozambique.
While earthquakes in the region tend to be small, the last major earthquake to strike Israel was in 1927, measured 6.2 on the Richter magnitude scale, killing 500 people and injured an additional 700. On January 1, 1837, a magnitude 6.5 on the Richter scale struck near the Galilee, killing an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 people.
The government has begun funding earthquake preparedness projects and the HomeFront Command has recently released an application for earthquake preparedness as well as trained more than 74,000 students across the country to act as first responders in case of an earthquake to provide aid until professional rescue service teams arrive.
In addition with the threat of a major earthquake, Israel’s 271 km. coastline risks being devastated by possible tsunamis. On average, a significant tsunami hits the Mediterranean sea every 100 years, and Israel’s coastline suffers one on average every 250 years.
Tsunamis in Israel are rare, with the last one recorded to hit Israeli shores was in 1956, the result of a large earthquake in Greek waters. Prior to that, the only tsunamis recorded were near Acre in the 19th century and Caesarea in the 12th century.
The government began placing tsunami warning signs and evacuation routes along coastal cities in November 2017.
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