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TURKEY-SYRIA EARTHQUAKES

Israel ill-prepared for any earthquake

Members of the Knesset Honor Guard, Home Front Command, Firefighters, IDF and Israel's Magen David Adom Emergency Medical Services participate in an emergency drill simulating an earthquake near Ashkelon, Dec. 19, 2019. (Photo: Yaniv Nadav/Flash90)

In the early hours of Monday morning, Turkey was hit with a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake with tremors felt throughout many parts of the Middle East, including Israel. 

The quake was followed by several aftershocks and then a 7.5-magnitude earthquake at 1:24 p.m. local time, on the same fault line and almost due north of the original epicenter, according to the United States Geological Survey.

It is estimated that 1,700 buildings in Turkey were destroyed and more than 2,000 people killed in both Turkey and Syria. 

With such immense devastation, Israelis are worried that many of their own structures built before 1985, when earthquake standards were established for new buildings will not stand up to a similar-sized earthquake. An estimated 8,000 structures in Israel allegedly do not meet the proper standards. 

This latest catastrophe of a neighboring country, hastened a meeting of the Inter-ministerial Earthquake Preparedness Steering Committee in Israel, to discuss avoiding massive damage in a similar scenario. On average, earthquakes hit Israel about once every 100 years.  

One topic of discussion is how to strengthen existing buildings, as well as the funding for such projects. In the event of an earthquake, student training has been the focus, but many feel it is not enough. 

One geological expert said this was the most serious earthquake in the region on record. Calls for budgetary accommodations are being heard, once again, as this ongoing natural disaster reminds everyone of the urgency of being properly prepared.

Read more: EARTHQUAKE

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

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