Imagine an entire city in rubble after a devastating earthquake. Next week, the Defense Ministry's National Emergency Authority will hold the largest and first-of-its kind exercise to prepare for this possibility.
The exercise will be held in a city somewhere in Israel in conjunction with the IDF Home Front Command, the National Infrastructures Ministry as well as all Israeli emergency services such as the Israel Police, Fire and Rescue Service and Magen David Adom.
"This will be the largest drill ever held in Israel to prepare for an earthquake," an official involved in planning the exercise said Monday.
Israel has suffered from two major known earthquakes in the past two hundred years. The first was in 1837 and destroyed most of the city of Safed. The second was in 1927 and caused heavy damage in the city of Nablus.
The last earthquake in Israel was in July in the North and recorded 3.6 on the Richter scale.
The exercise will focus on a number of scenarios to determine how the different government ministries and services respond.
Under the model the NEA has formulated, the main body responsible for coordinating emergency efforts following an earthquake will be the local council. It will receive support from the Defense Ministry, the IDF and the various emergency services.
"Local council heads need to understand that for the first 72 hours it will be very difficult to get into the city to provide assistance," a defense official explained.