'Mighty Waves' brings Israeli Navy to another level of earthquake preparedness

Canadian Observer to Post: Canada has niche capabilities to help in such a scenario.

By
August 13, 2019 03:23
4 minute read.
 “Mighty Waves,” the Navy’s large-scale multinational exercise simulating the aftermath of a major e

“Mighty Waves,” the Navy’s large-scale multinational exercise simulating the aftermath of a major earthquake. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The five-day, large-scale multinational exercise, with 10 foreign fleets off the Haifa coast simulating the aftermath of a major earthquake, has brought the Israel Navy to “another level” of preparedness.

Dubbed “Mighty Waves,” the drill saw the participation of hundreds of troops on six ships at sea. Five helicopters also took part in the exercise, which focused on the after-effects of a significant 7.5 earthquake that leaves thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.

The drill also focused on the recovery of casualties, including those underwater, and most importantly, the transfer of humanitarian aid.

The countries which participated with vessels included the Israel Navy with the INS Lahav, the United States with the USS Donald Cook, Greece with the HS Aigaion and France with the FREMM Auvergne. Other countries which sent observers to the drill included Cyprus, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Britain and Chile, as well as NATO.

 “Mighty Waves,” the Navy’s large-scale multinational exercise simulating the aftermath of a major earthquake (Credit: LT.-COMMANDER AL COMPTON - OBSERVER OF MIGHTY WAVES FROM THE ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY)

While the navy led the drill, other IDF bodies including the Home Front Command, Operations Directorate, Medical Corps, and the Technological and Logistics Directorate participated. Other civilian bodies including various government ministries, the National Emergency Management Agency and Haifa Port also took part.

It was the largest drill the Israel Navy has ever led.

“Israel has to prepare for an earthquake. Statistically it occurs every 100 years and this is the right time to prepare and carry out such a drill,” Maj. Amichai Rahamim, head of the exercise section in the doctrine department of the Israel Navy told The Jerusalem Post.

With the country’s infrastructure, including airports and port facilities, likely to be destroyed or heavily damaged following a major earthquake, the sea and therefore the navy will have a major role in bringing in humanitarian aid.

 “Mighty Waves,” the Navy’s large-scale multinational exercise simulating the aftermath of a major earthquake (Credit:  IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

“We are sure that the navy will be in charge of humanitarian aid,” Rahamim said. “You will never know when such a catastrophe will hit or where it will hit, but we can... build a toolbox to match expected scenarios so that we can build priorities and see the capabilities of each country.

“After an earthquake, we will need to bring humanitarian aid to Israel and we know that Israel, which has many allies, will need them to come help,” he said. “It’s going to be a coalition event and more countries than those who participated in the drill will likely send humanitarian aid.”

“We understand that 1+1+1+1 is a lot more than 4.”

Lt.-Cdr. Al Compton, who participated as an observer from the Royal Canadian Navy, told the Post that while the two navies “don’t get to interact so much because of the distance [between them],” Canada has niche capabilities and experience which would be beneficial in an earthquake scenario.

“Canada is fairly knowledgeable in humanitarian and disaster relief, participating in missions every year, both in North America and abroad. A lot of our recent knowledge would be beneficial in this type of scenario. Canada has niche capabilities – both military and civilian – to help,” he said.

“Mighty Waves,” the Navy’s large-scale multinational exercise simulating the aftermath of a major earthquake (Credit: LT.-COMMANDER AL COMPTON - OBSERVER OF MIGHTY WAVES FROM THE ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY)

THE ISRAEL Navy used the example of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, which had a magnitude of seven, and destroyed a large part of the island and killed between 100,000 to 316,000 people.

Following the devastating earthquake, Canada rushed to provide aid to those affected, sending hundreds of soldiers and ships.

According to Compton, while it would be ideal for a Canadian ship operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to respond to such a disaster, Canada would be able to quickly deploy other, more critical teams to Israel if need be.

“It goes beyond just ship platform capabilities. There are many other capabilities, such as medical teams and diving teams with search and recovery expertise, that can be rapidly deployed,” he said.

While it’s his first time in Israel, Compton told the Post that he had been deployed to Lebanon to help with the evacuation of Canadians during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

“This allowed me to discuss commonalities with the IDF officers during the drill. Even though the initial event is different, the ultimate response in terms of coordination is very similar,” he said.

According to Rahamim, coordinating plans and scenarios was a challenging aspect of Mighty Waves, “but it was very necessary and significant” that it was done.

“After the five-day intensive drill with all sorts of assets, I can say that I’m satisfied that we have moved our country and navy one step forward in preparing for an earthquake, a scenario which we can’t know when it will hit us,” he said. “God willing we won’t face one – but now we are one step forward in being prepared.”

“Mighty Waves,” the Navy’s large-scale multinational exercise simulating the aftermath of a major earthquake (Credit:  IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)


Related Content

August 20, 2019
Liberman, Blue and White slammed for vote sharing deal

By GIL HOFFMAN

Cookie Settings