Hundreds of ZAKA members participated in a drill Tuesday in which they trained to deal with the aftermath of a tsunami. The drill, which began at 3 p.m., continued into the nighttime hours, and included 450 land volunteers and 80 divers.
According to the drill scenario, a tsunami ensued after an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale hit Israel, with the quake's epicenter 50 kilometers offshore in the Mediterranean. The tsunami wept ashore at Kibbutz Palmachim near Rishon Lezion, with hundreds of bodies strewn on the beach and in the sea; hundreds more are missing, and presumed dead.
Scientists say that the likelihood of a tsunami hitting Israel would be low even in the event of an earthquake, because of the sea's normally calm waters. However, they do not discount the possibility, saying that a tsunami, even if it is not on the scale of recent tsunamis that hit Thailand and India, is certainly possible in the event of a major offshore earthquake.
ZAKA commanders and volunteers from around Israel participated in the drill, said Homefront Security Minister Avi Dichter. “We are examining the role of volunteer organizations working with the IDF, police and rescue services during national emergencies,” he told reporters.
According to Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, “ZAKA has had a great deal of experience in dealing with disasters, such as earthquakes. We have helped in the aftermath of earthquakes in Turkey, Thailand, Haiti and Japan. We used our experience in the current drill,” he added.