Earthquake insurance and preparedness low in Israel, despite risk

Earthquake Insurance - Earthquake aftermath - disaster - house collapse

The region typically experiences large quakes every 80 to 100 years and is now coming due.

In Israel, preparedness and earthquake insurance to protect against a major quake remains too low. The State Comptroller, Yosef Shapira has now issued a warning to the country that preparedness is entirely inadequate.

This is a serious problem as the country is now considered to be due for a major earthquake.

Earthquake insurance coverage is only one of many steps residents and businesses could take to protect themselves. Over the last week or so, there have been dozens of tremors reported in the northern part of Israel. Many are starting to see this as a serious reminder that the threat exists and it is real.

The country typically experiences a major earthquake every 80 to 100 years. That amount of time has already passed since the last big one. Though these natural disasters do not occur on a clock and are difficult to predict, earthquake preparedness is critical, said the comptroller as reported by the Times of Israel.

Earthquake insurance, emergency services and readiness programs are far lower than could be needed.

Shapira’s report shared some frightening numbers regarding the impact of a major earthquake in Israel in its current state of preparedness – or lack thereof. To start, the report showed that if a major earthquake occurs along the Great Rift Valley, it could leave up to 17,000 people homeless, it could injure tens of thousands of people and as many as 7,000 people could be killed.

As a result, State Comptroller Shapira is calling for local municipalities and emergency services to go over earthquake readiness programs and strategies in case of a major tremor.

He reported having previously reviewed the status of Israel’s earthquake insurance and readiness back in 2001, as well as in 2004 and again in 2011. What he discovered was that the country has not allocated any funding for precautionary measures such as strengthening older buildings. The barrier in the way of the funding has been disagreements among municipalities regarding where the responsibility for the work lies.

Earthquake Insurance - Earthquake aftermath - disaster - house collapseExperts are now cautioning Israel that the last major earthquake to affect that country and Jordan was in 1927. At that time, a 6.2 magnitude quake shook the region injuring 700 and killing 500. They predict that another similar earthquake could strike in the not-too-distant future and that preparations must imminently begin.

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