Who will assist Israel in case it is hit by a strong earthquake? The Home Front Command nationwide earthquake drill, which was held for the first time Sunday, as part of the annual emergency drill, was also meant to explore the options available to Israel should it need international assistance.
According to government assessment, the United States, Germany, NATO and UN relief organization will send humanitarian help first.
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Israel is part of several international humanitarian aid treaties, which all but guarantee such assistance.
The Home Front Defense Ministry also means to explore the issue further, and plans to hold a relief air corridor exercise in 2013, to test Ben Gurion International Airport readiness for such an occurrence.
"Israel is bound to experience a strong earthquake, the questions are when, where and how strong," Major-General (Res.) Gabi Ofir, director general of the Home Front Defense Ministry, said.
Ofir predicted that the damage caused would be "bigger than any war," adding that "Israel is trying to prepare in advance – that is why we signed the treaties.
"In such cases many countries want to help, but the aid can be a burden if the operation isn’t run properly."
Representatives of various relief organizations will visit the drill's designated "disaster zones" over the next few days, including the Red Cross, the US National Guard, UN and NATO officials, and the head of Berlin's Federal Aid Agency.
Once the drill concludes, they will meet with Home Front Defense Ministry officials to devise a model for an aid plan for Israel.
Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter said that, "The last time we had a major earthquake was in 1927. This 80-year gap has put us in a disadvantage, according to experts.
"We can't prevent an earthquake from happening, so our goal is to stop a disaster from turning into a catastrophe."
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