Minister of Home Front Defense Gilad Erdan (Likud-Yisrael Beitenu) on Monday briefed the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on his office`s preparations for the possibility of an earthquake hitting Israel.
Committee Chairman Miri Regev (Likud-Yisrael Beitenu) said it is no secret that some structures in Israel will not be able to withstand an earthquake.
Erdan told the committee that ”regretfully, I cannot say that on the issue of earthquakes the government is doing its job in a responsible manner. The responsibility for this issue is distributed between too many authorities, and the result of this is that the preparedness is insufficient.
”The history of earthquakes in Israel shows that 80 to 90 years passed between one lethal earthquake and the next. Ninety years have passed since the last earthquake; you can do the math yourselves,” said the minister.
Representatives of the Union of Local Authorities in Israel, including the heads of the Omer and Karnei Shomron councils, said there is a shortage of emergency equipment.
Minister Erdan said the most urgent task is to strengthen structures. ”Today there are more than 800,000 housing units in Israel that do not meet (minimum earthquake-resistance levels). This means that millions of civilians will be at risk in the event of an earthquake,” he said, adding that some 1,600 schools also do not meet the minimum earthquake-resistance levels.
Erdan accused the Finance Ministry of failing to allocate the funds needed to help Israel prepare for a possible earthquake.
MK Regev said the ”main failure” is the sharing of the responsibility by the various authorities, ”and I expect this to be resolved.” The committee chairman asked that the director generals of the various government offices be invited to the next discussion in order to coordinate the preparation for a possible major earthquake.