Home Front Command earthquake drill.
(photo credit: Hadas Parush)
Four minor earthquakes in four days have raised concerns about the
potential for costly damage and loss of life that may occur in the
event that a major earthquake hits the region in the near future. According to some experts, these fears may be valid.
Amotz Agnon, a Geology and Geophysics expert working at Hebrew
University in Jerusalem, believes a major earthquake in the near future
could kill thousands.
Speaking in an interview with Army Radio,
Agnon said that a strong earthquake in Israel could "lead to thousands
of deaths. From experience, we know that everything depends on the time
of day an earthquake occurs. The cities of Safed, Tiberias, Kiryat
Shmona, Beit She'an and Eilat, unfortunately, are all built above the
Adding to the problem is the fact that these
towns and cities do not seem to have the financial means necessary to
address concerning building issues.
National Outline Plan 38 is a
plan created to fortify buildings that are not structurally prepared to
handle the effects of a powerful earthquake. The plan, which was put
together by analysts and planners in 2005, calls for the directing of
financial support toward populated areas likely to be affected by an
earthquake. Essentially any building contractor who works to bring a
building up to code will receive financial benefits provided by the
However, Moti Lavi, Tiberias' lead engineer, believes that
the finer workings of plan 38 are not realistic in terms of
"National Outline Plan 38 is not financially
possible to implement in reality - the allowance of an additional two
and a half stories to buildings does not make sense economically for an
entrepreneur or contractor," Lavi said in his own interview with Army
Radio on Monday.
He added that many dangerous cracks in various buildings were noted by analysts even before the recent rash of tremors.
bright light is that Dr. Uri Frieslander, general manager of the Israel
Geophysical Institute, does not believe that the long-predicted major
earthquake is threatening to strike in the near future.
cannot say that this event (Sunday's light earthquakes) will yield
something (bigger) in the future. We are watching carefully the results
of the seismological map,” he said.