When a major earthquake hits Israel, the damage stands to be enormous due to the country's failure to prepare for such a scenario, Dr. Ephraim Laor, an expert in the field, stated Sunday.
According to Laor, who until recently headed the national steering committee entrusted with examining the level of preparedness for an earthquake, "The government fails to implement its own decisions, and therefore Israel isn't ready for a quake.
"The committee I chaired drafted conclusions, received authorization from the relevant bodies, but its decisions are not being implemented. Instead, National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer continues to look for creative solutions and do nothing."
Findings presented by Laor indicate that some 400,000 buildings in the country were not built according to regulations and would not be able to endure a major tremor. These include some 1,820 schools, 5,4000 kindergartens, 12,000 government offices and 105 factories containing hazardous materials that may cause devastating damage to population centers in the event of a quake.
Laor said the only way to deal with a major earthquake, which, according to experts, will undoubtedly hit the region sometime in the future, is to immediately implement the plans that were submitted to the government.
"We must examine the possibility of reinforcing buildings that were built before the regulations were put in place, increase cooperation with other countries, expand research and give special courses on the subject to the public," he said.
"If Israel were a well-managed country, the plan to deal with earthquakes would have been launched a long time ago."