Last week, a former senior IDF colonel who served in the Home Front Command warned that a major earthquake is expected to rip through Israel in the near future and has urged the general public to follow the authorities' advice and prepare accordingly.
“Until now we knew there was a threat from our enemies in the north and the south. Now we found out we have enemies underground as well,” said one local resident.
The city’s mayor, Yossi Ben David, along with the Commander of the Northern District of the Home Front Col. Itzik Bar and other IDF officers, toured the areas damaged by the latest earthquake.
In Tiberias four information stations were set up for the local residents, the municipality opened a hotline for PTSD victims, and the teams from Amidar and the municipality began repairing and upgrading the damaged infrastructure.
Engineering teams have already started working on the damaged property and will be joined by additional reinforcements from the Home Front Command, as part of an agreement between the municipality and the IDF.
The buildings, along the two most badly damaged local streets, have plaster and paint peeling from the exterior walls, as well as multiple cracks in the infrastructure.
One building was so badly damaged that three families had to move out of their apartments.
“Our building was damaged by the earthquake,” said a 37-year-old Slava Kulishko, who immigrated to Israel over 20 years ago with his mother, and moved to what was at the time considered a new residential project in Tiberias.
“The cracks in the walls of our building have widened following the latest earthquakes. It feels like I’m living here on borrowed time because everyone says a major earthquake is coming. It’s time to upgrade and quickly, because the buildings will collapse if they don’t do it,” vented Kulishko.
“I don’t understand how strengthening the infrastructure against earthquakes isn’t at the top of the agenda for a country that prepares for one,” he continued.
“It’s absurd that the state invests billions in the Iron Dome, ASPRO-A and David's Sling, but it doesn’t compare to the damage of an earthquake. In all the wars combined, Israel didn’t have the amount of casualties and injured like we’ll have in an earthquake. If I had an option, I would’ve moved away from here. What will help this city? God? I doubt he exists,” exclaimed Kulishko.
Slava’s neighbor, Miriam Fahima, told Ynet that following the wave of tremors, her husband is too afraid to go into the house, spending multiple hours outside fearing another earthquake might occur.
“We really felt the earthquake. I live on the ground floor and I was lucky enough to be able to escape outside in seconds, but I felt the tremor throughout my body. I was asleep when yesterday’s earthquake happened and my husband tried to wake me up so we could escape outside. We are scared and worried because our building isn’t stable,” explained Miriam.
Jacob Frisch, a local resident, also talked about his fears of living in the area.
“Only last year we renovated here because we fear a major earthquake will happen.”
The latest earthquake resulted in a crack in one of the walls in his children’s room. Since the parents are fearful that an air conditioner will fall on one of the beds, the kids are forced to sleep in the living room.
“I told them to sleep in the living room, since it’s also closer to the front door and it will be easier to escape during an earthquake,” added Jacob’s daughter Irena.
According to the family, they’ve prepared a bag with water, first aid and a flashlight, which they keep by the front door, in case they are forced to leave in the middle of the night amid an earthquake.
“During every earthquake we hear noises coming from inside the walls … that makes us very nervous, the kind of sounds that signal the end. We feel unsafe in our house. My friend even told me to sleep with Kabanos sausages underneath the bed, so we’d have something to eat in case we get stuck here,” concluded Irena.