Palestinians, Jordanians and Israelis team up to combat earthquake risk

The area along the Israel-Jordan border is highly susceptible to earthquakes. Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians joined forces to provide the best possible response in case such a disaster strikes

IDF SOLDIERS and US Army observers stand on rubble during an earthquake drill in Holon in October 2012. (photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
IDF SOLDIERS and US Army observers stand on rubble during an earthquake drill in Holon in October 2012.
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
With the border area with Jordan at high risk for earthquakes, Israeli institutions are collaborating with the Jordanian Red Crescent and Hebron’s Greenland Association to train local residents as first responders in the event of such a catastrophe.
The joint project, called “Community Emergency Response Teams,” was conceived by Ben-Gurion University, the European Union and Magen David Adom.
Limited access and rough terrain after an earthquake mean that rescue teams may take some time to arrive.
This training will give residents tools to provide first aid, shelter and psycho-social support before professional rescue teams appear. Participants underwent a 100-hour course on subjects such as needs assessment, first aid, shelter, hygiene promotion, psycho-social support, search and rescue, firefighting and community resilience.
The teams will be scattered along the Jordan River bank in Israel’s Emek Hama’ayanot region, Hevel Eilot region and Kuseife, a Beduin town. Similar training took place simultaneously in Palestinian and Jordanian communities. First-response teams throughout the region will also be prepared to assist one another in case of an emergency.
The project culminated with a drill that took place in Kibbutz Gesher in Beit She’an. A ceremony attended by the president of the Jordanian Red Crescent, a senior representative of BGU and the head of the Emek Hama’ayanot Regional Council was held after the drill.
Prof. Limor Aharonson-Daniel, BGU’s deputy rector for international academic relations and head of the prepared center for emergency response research, who leads the project, said: “The project is funded by the EU’s Peace Partnership and has granted us the opportunity to once again promote lifesaving activities together. The collaboration, which began with training the first Jordanian paramedics a decade ago, continues with the establishment of local emergency-response teams over the past three years. In the future we aim to establish a master’s program in emergency response and crisis management. Above all, the project has sparked personal relationships and friendships that prove that regional collaboration is indeed possible.”