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State Comptroller warns: ‘Major earthquake would kill 7,000, destroy bridges’

State Comptroller finds Israel only partially prepared for major earthquake, which would have devastating consequences.

The State Comptroller, retired judge Yosef Shapira, published the report on “State Preparedness for an Earthquake” on Wednesday afternoon, which examines the preparedness of national infrastructures and buildings in the State of Israel. In light of recent earthquakes in the north, the State Comptroller instructed the publication of the report, which presents an up-to-date picture of the deficiencies in earthquake assessments.

Experts in the field believe that the occurrence of a strong earthquake, with all its severe consequences, is almost certain. Its impact on different regions of the country will be enormous. According to the governmentapproved preparedness examination, in the event of a major earthquake, Israel could expect 7,000 fatalities, 8,600 people seriously injured, 37,000 people lightly injured, 9,500 people trapped in rubble and 170,000 made homeless.

From July 2017 to February 2018, the State Comptroller’s Office examined the preparedness of the country’s infrastructure bodies for earthquakes.

Completion tests were conducted by May 2018. The audit focused on the preparation phase prior to the occurrence of an earthquake.

The report found that out of the over-70 bridges in Israel considered to be at high levels of seismic risk, only three had been reinforced.

It was also found that of the 1,600 schools which needed to be reinforced against earthquakes, only 50 had been reinforced so far and only 200 were in the planning stages to be reinforced. The structures which require reinforcement are those which were built before 1984, when new construction was required to adhere to current standards of earthquake durability.

“Despite the Ministry of Education’s attempts to jump-start the reinforcement project in the local authorities, while allocating a dedicated budget and training engineers and contractors to carry out the work, to date, the minority of schools have been reinforced,” the report said.

“Since the implementation of the reinforcement depends on the local authorities and the Education Ministry does not have the authority to oblige them to implement it, full cooperation is required from all the relevant bodies, including the Education Ministry, the local authorities, the steering committee and the Interior Ministry.”

The Comptroller also noted that Israel currently possesses one natural gas line, and that the country’s electricity supply could be severely disrupted if the line was damaged in an earthquake.

Ben Gurion international Airport could also be severely damaged in the event of a major earthquake.

Other deficiencies found in the report included: Partial reinforcement of hospitals and health institutions – despite a government decision in 2008 to strengthen public buildings, including hospitals, until the completion of the audit, the hospitals were only partially reinforced. Moreover, the Health Ministry has no information on the physical condition and the degree of compliance of the geriatric and nursing institutions, which are attended by thousands of citizens in nursing, rehabilitative and psychiatric departments.

Resistance Fire station buildings – fire stations have a critical role to play in the first response to the earthquake-hit population, both by putting out the fires and by rescuing them. Until the end of the audit period, the Fire Department and the Public Security Ministry had no comprehensive information about the stations that could themselves be hit by an earthquake.

In addition, some 185 police stations, fire stations and MDA and IPS facilities were built before 1980 and are at high risk in the event of an earthquake.

The last major earthquake to strike the State of Israel occurred in 1927. The earthquake, which measure 6.2 on the Richter Scale, caused the deaths of about 500 people.

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Earthquake in central Israel

4.6 magnitude quake strikes off Israeli coast, felt in Jerusalem.
Arutz Sheva Staff,

An earthquake was felt in central Israel, including Jerusalem, Wednesday night. No injuries or damage has been reported in the wake of the 4.6 magnitude quake.

The Geophysical Institute reported that the epicenter of the earthquake was at sea, between Hadera and Haifa, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the Israeli coast. The quake struck Israel at 7:53 PM.

David Bulka, a resident of Mevasseret Zion, told Arutz Sheva: “Our porch shook. I felt dizzy for ten seconds. It was very strong and surprising.”

The last time there was an earthquake in Israel was in January of this year. At that time, a 3.6 magnitude tremor was felt in the north of the country.


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Bat Yam seafront homes priced like Tel Aviv

The luxury housing market in Tel Aviv’s southern neighbor has been growing in leaps and bounds.

Sea Park, the new neighborhood currently under construction in Bat Yam, is just beginning, but there are already many people willing to pay millions of shekels for apartments there. The location is becoming the most expensive part of the city.

In contrast to other cities, luxury housing did not exist in Bat Yam until recent years. Up until 2012, a mere handful of housing deals there were priced at NIS 3 million or more. Since then, however, the luxury housing market in the city has been growing by leaps and bounds, reaching a peak of 61 deals in 2017 and falling to 52 deals in 2018.

Despite the drop in the number of deals, Bat Yam saw its first deal for over NIS 10 million last year. Two deals were signed in a project of Property and Building group subsidiary Nave in the northern part of Sea Park: one for NIS 15 million and the other for NIS 10.25 million.

The more expensive penthouse has 300 square meters and the less expensive one 180 square meters. Nave CEO Avi Rosen says that marketing of the third penthouse in the company’s building has not yet begun, although the building has already been  ccupied for two years.

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EARTHQUAKE IN NORTHERN ISRAEL – ‘FELT LIKE A BOMB,’ RESIDENTS

People in Afula, Nazereth and Migdal Haemek in the North said they also heard loud explosions.

Northern Israel getting hit by an earthquake on January 24th, 2019

Northern Israel was hit by an earthquake late Thursday night. Residents reported tremors and what they said sounded like explosions.

“It felt like a bomb went off near the house,” one resident said. 

People in Afula, Nazereth and Migdal Haemek in the North said they also heard loud explosions.

Authorities later confirmed that the tremors were caused by an earthquake, estimated to have been a 3.6 on the Richter scale.

The last earthquake reported in Israel occurred in July, when a 4.1 magnitude earthquake shook Haifa and the Galilee region.
Israel is located along the Syrian-African fault line, which runs along the Israel-Jordan border, part of the Great Rift Valley that runs from eastern Lebanon to Mozambique. A major earthquake is statistically due to strike Israel every 80-100 years.

In 1927, a major earthquake registering 6.2 on the Richter Scale struck Israel, killing 500 people. Another major earthquake is therefore now due.

A 2016 report by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Home-Front Readiness Subcommittee found that if Israel were to be struck by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, an estimated 7,000 people would be killed, another 8,600 injured and 377,000 left homeless. In addition, the country could face damage of up to NIS 200 billion ($55 billion).

According to the National Emergency Authority, there are 80,000 buildings, including schools and hospitals, that are over three stories high and that were built before 1980, making them illegible according to current construction standards.

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Magnitude earthquake rocks northern Israel

Less than a week after 3.4 magnitude tremor rattles the region following a string of minor earthquakes, northern Kinneret struck by yet another; ‘The bed just jumped.’ Ahiya Raved and Or Ezran

A 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck the northern Kinneret area on Friday, according to the Geophysical Institute of Israel, making it the second to rattle the area in less than a week.

The quake was felt at 11:52am, which was also said to rumble Tiberias and northern Nazareth.

Benny Sho’an, a 64­year-old resident from Tiberias, said he was sitting on his balcony overlooking the Sea of Galilee when the earthquake struck.

“We felt the table move and the cup of coffee started moving,” he said. “We have already become used to this.”

“Nitzah Caspi from Kfar Tavor, a village in the Lower Galilee region, said: “I felt the shaking in the house. The bed just jumped. I have a seismic warning device and recently it has been going off non stop. It beeps the moment there is an earthquake. It’s the third time that I have really felt the earthquake.”

A minor 3.4 magnitude earthquake also struck near the Kinneret area on Sunday, rocking the northern region mere days after a st ring of minor earthquakes rumbled the area in recent weeks.

A former senior IDF colonel who served in the Home Front Command warned at the beginning of the month that a major earthquake is expected to rip through Israel in the near future and urged the general public to follow the authorities’ advice and prepare accordingly.

“In our area earthquakes happen. The last major earthquake struck in 1927, and the one before as in 1836, so we understand that every 100 years a serious earthquake strikes,” said Col. Gili Shenhar (Ret.).