An extensive drill meant to prepare Israel for a natural disaster continued on Tuesday with a simulated tsunami.
The exercise envisioned a 15-meter wave washing over Kibbutz Palmachim as result of a 7.4-magnitude earthquake. Such a disaster would see hundreds of casualties.
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Tuesday's drill began around 3 pm and was expected to last well into the night. Some 600 ZAKA volunteers, 80 divers, 25 boats, 15 dog handlers and 30 vehicles were involved in the event.
ZAKA volunteers, who provide assistance in various emergency situations, practiced pulling bodies out of the water and finding bodies trapped in debris.
Tsunami 'survivor' in Palmachim (Photo: Benny Deutsch)
Unlike an earthquake or a missile strike, concerns over looming tsunamis seldom makes headlines in Israel, but geologists warn that such a possibility exists.
Tsunami a distinct possibility
Dov Rosen, a senior scientist at the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute, claims that it is only a question of time before a tsunami strikes. Over the past 3,000 years 21 such incidents occurred on Israel's shores.
"Statistically, the Mediterranean Sea is second in the world in the number of tsunamis that have been reported," he said. "A weak tsunami hits the region every century, a moderate tsunami hits every two centuries and a destructive tsunami hits every 1,000 years.
"There's a good chance that an earthquake with a magnitude of six or higher could cause powerful tsunami waves," he said.
Divers took part in drill (Photo: Benny Deutsch)
In case of a strong earthquake, the public is advised to travel at least a kilometer away from the country's shores, Rosen said.
Such a disaster is expected to not only result in casualties but also destroy infrastructure. If the bay of Haifa is flooded, so will the power plant's cooling pools, halting the energy supply for a significant period of time.
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