3,000 people in Tiberias at mercy of a 'quake

THREE thousand families in the Galilee city of Tiberias are at the mercy of a serious earthquake.

The warning came from Mayor Yossi Ben-David, who said they lack the proper infrastructure.

He was speaking at an emergency meeting, called after dozens of tremors were felt around northern Israel during a two-week period.

Last week, the Jewish Telegraph told how a major earthquake could send 80,000 buildings in Israel tumbling down.

"We do everything to be prepared, but we need the tools," said Mr Ben-David.

"There are 3,000 families that still have no solutions - and I'm not even talk about hotels and tourists.

"I do not want to scare them away out of stress, but I also have to bring them solutions."

Over half of the buildings in the city, said the mayor, were built before 1984 "when standards began to be enforced for earthquake durability, and are therefore in danger of collapsing during a 'quake".

Ben-David added that his residents know how to respond to missiles but not to earthquakes.

"The government solutions speak of buildings of three to six floors, but there are many one-storey buildings, such as kindergartens, which nobody is dealing with," he said.

Israel is situated along the Syrian-African fault line, which runs along the border between Israel and Jordan - part of the Great Rift Valley encompassing the area from northern Syria to Mozambique.

Tiberias is one of the Israeli cities that are most at risk, as is Kiryat Shmona.

Rabbi Nissim Malka, the mayor of Kiryat Shmona, said that there was confusion among residents in his city during three recent tremors in one day.

"They didn't know whether to go to the shelter - as they are used to - stay at home or be outside," he added.

He stressed the importance of disseminating public information on the matter.

The director-general of Magen David Adom - Israel's national emergency, medical and disaster services - said that his organisation is also not prepared, due to a lack of backing.

"Since 2012, everything we have done was solely from our own resources because we did not get any funds from the state," he said.

"Is there anybody in Israel, or in the world, who is instructed to deal with such challenges without getting one shekel?

"Unfortunately, Magen David Adom is not ready today for a scenario of earthquakes."

The meeting was hosted by Israel's foreign affairs and defence committee's home-front readiness sub-committee.

A 2016 report by the sub-committee 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 expected to be left homeless.

In addition, the country could face damages of up to 200 billion shekels (41.8bn).

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