1500 schools under high risk in case of earthquake

Earthquake preparedness falls between the cracks as different ministries claim not to be responsible.

HOME FRONT troops conduct an earthquake drill 370 (photo credit: IDF Spokesman’s Office)
HOME FRONT troops conduct an earthquake drill 370
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman’s Office)
School buildings will have to be rebuilt because of the risk that they would collapse if there was an earthquake, National Steering Committee for Earthquake Preparedness chairman Dr. Avi Shapira said Monday.
“We know for sure that there will be an earthquake and tsunami in Israel, the only question is when,” Shapira said at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Subcommittee for Home Front Preparedness called in light of recent earthquakes.
According to Shapira, there are 1,500 schools at risk of collapse and two in Safed will have to be evacuated immediately and rebuilt. There are 100,000 buildings in Israel that do not meet the standards for earthquake preparedness.
“Progress was recently made on the government’s preparation for earthquakes, but we are still behind in areas that are the citizens’ responsibility, not just the governments’,” Shapira added.
Home Front Preparedness Ministry director-general Dan Ronen pointed out that there is no one office responsible for preparations and crisis management in case of an earthquake or tsunami.
Public Security Ministry deputy director-general Eliezer Rosenbaum described a bureaucratic problem. The ministry is responsible for dealing with earthquakes when they happen; however, they do not have the authority to help prepare for them.
“I’m not sure we’ll be able to respond to something that we were not responsible to prepare for,” Rosenbaum said.