State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss presented the government on Wednesday with a report on Israel's level of preparedness for earthquakes and their consequences, calling it "a red flag for the prime minister".
As Japan and New Zealand struggle to overcome the destruction waged by massive quakes, Lindenstrauss's report warns that despite two previous reports – filed in 2001 and 2004 – Israel has done nothing to improve its infrastructure in preparation for a similar occurrence in the country.
"Unfortunately the State Comptroller's Office finds itself cautioning and reproving for 20 years, with a number of reports on the failure to prepare for earthquakes in Israel," Lindenstrauss wrote.
"This inspection found that significant failures in this field were not fixed and have even worsened. Generations of Israeli governments have caused severe neglect that has continued for years."
According to Lindenstrauss, budget cuts have been imposed "without first probing extensively the effect on the emergency resources". The comptroller says he based his report on research about direct damage to people and property that could be caused by an earthquake in Israel.
"We have not a moment to spare and we need immediate action, ASAP," he wrote, adding that Israel is situated on a fault line destined to suffer a quake.
Despite the reports issued in 2001 and 2004, Israel waited until 2008 to earmark NIS 3.5 billion ($1 billion) for the strengthening of infrastructure over the course of 25 years. But in April 2010 the plan was pronounced a failure, and since then nothing has been done to prepare public structures for a quake, the comptroller said.
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