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Embracing lessons from Turkey-Syria earthquakes, Israel's Ministry of Defense leads joint international exercise

Exercise simulates disaster response, but infrastructure needs reinforcement

Earthquake exercise ded by Israel Ministry of Defense simulates receiving emergency international aid, Mar. 12, 2023 (Photo: Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office )

One month after the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, the Israeli Defense Ministry's National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) is leading an international exercise focused on receiving international aid following an earthquake. 

The exercise, which begins today, will continue until March 15 and will include some 120 participants from 17 countries. Drill participants will include teams from Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the European Union (EU), and the United Nations (UN). It will also include Israeli emergency and rescue agencies.
The international NEMA exercise will simulate all necessary emergency procedures in the event of an earthquake, including the decision to request international assistance, the integration of foreign rescue teams and the distribution of aid to various locations within the country.

Simulated scenarios will include earthquake search and rescue operations, evacuation drills, damage assessment processes and receiving international aid from various countries.
Brig.-Gen. (Res.) Yoram Laredo, Director of the National Emergency Management Authority, said, “The National Emergency Management Authority designated 2023 as the year to focus on improving national earthquake preparedness, with the devastating earthquake in Türkiye further emphasizing the challenges that we face. The highly-esteemed cooperation with our partners abroad is a crucial element in achieving this and enhances the State of Israel’s capacity to receive extensive humanitarian aid in emergency situations.” 

Following the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6, several Israeli experts warned that the the Jewish nation is not prepared for a major earthquake. 

Dr. Ittai Kurzon, a seismologist with the Israeli Geological Society said the country would need to invest $10 billion just to reinforce buildings and infrastructure built before 1980. 

Israel lies on multiple fault lines, with the most significant being the Dead Sea Rift in the Jordan Valley. There has not been a significant earthquake in Israel since 1927, when a 6.2-magnitude earthquake killed around 500 people. 

Seismologists say the earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria could lead to shifting in the plates which would put further strain on the faults in Israel. Israel experienced several smaller earthquakes in the days following the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.  

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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