Today we’re informed that another major earthquake struck the surface of the earth. This time it’s the people of China who suffer the wrath of the planet. So far we’ve heard of 3500(!!) casualties, and the numbers are expected to rise.
Israel itself sits on top of the Great Rift Valley, also known as the Syrian-African Rupture. It is a distinct geographical trough that marks the junction of several geological faults. Over the years, many experts warn the Israeli public that they should be prepared for a mega earthquake hitting this tiny country, sooner or later. Now, it is true that several devastating earthquakes ran wild across the planet in the past few years, and that the countries afflicted (Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, to name a few) suffered heavy losses and great economical setbacks, and yet, they managed to recover, able to keep their heads above the tide. This wouldn’t be the case of Israel if such a disaster strikes unexpectedly.
Israel is a small state, only slightly larger than New Jersey, and most of Israel’s population is concentrated on the banks of the Mediterranean shore, in cities such as Tel-Aviv and Haifa. No wonder the Israeli government is so concerned about the Iranian threat — One nuclear bomb is enough to wipe out the state of Israel, and most of its population. Well, Prime Minister Olmert is definitely anxious with the Iranian A-Bomb, but what about the threat of natural disasters, such as earthquakes and droughts?
Numerous panel reports have been presented to the Israeli cabinet in the past decade urging the state authorities to take measures in preparation of a potential natural disaster. It was when the accumulating data persuaded news editors to feature this story prominently on TV and across the written media, that things “started to roll”. As we’ve been accustomed to in Israel, governmental agenda follows editorial agenda. Recently, we do hear about new protocols which the emergency services have prepared for such disasters, and even the government itself set up several web sites in order to educate the Israeli public as to what to do in such situations (so far, in Hebrew alone).
There is definitely much more to do, and I hope to see these official efforts taking one notch up. In the meantime, our prayers are aimed at the people of China.