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June 12, 2017 1:29 pm

Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Earthquake ‘Can Hit at Any Moment,’ Announces Emergency Drill

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In July 2015, a 4.3-magnitude earthquake struck around the Dead Sea (pictured) in Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the launch of a drill this week to improve Israel’s preparedness for major earthquakes.

“I hope there will not be an earthquake in 2017,” Netanyahu said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “There are enough earthquakes around us in all senses of the word, but we live adjacent to the Syrian-African rift, and an earthquake can hit at any moment.”

Experts have concluded that in an extreme scenario, a massive earthquake in Israel could kill as many as 3,000 people and injure 3,800, while leaving 4,200 trapped and 80,000 displaced. In the same scenario, 7,300 buildings would sustain massive damage and 27,000 would be moderately damaged.

Israel has experienced several small earthquakes in recent years. In July 2015, a 4.3-magnitude earthquake struck around the Dead Sea area, but no injuries or damage were reported. A 5.2-magnitude earthquake centered in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in June 2015 led to tremors being felt throughout Israel, forcing Ben-Gurion International Airport to temporarily suspend flights.

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