Earthquake preparedness drill
Earthquake preparedness drillIsrael news photo: Flash 90

After a weekend replete with earthquakes – with two taking place in one day – security officials met Sunday night to discuss contingency plans on how to deal with a national emergency that could result from a major quake.

And according to Dr. Avi Shapiro, chairman of a government panel on earthquakes, such an event is just a matter of time.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Shapiro said that previous experience shows that a big quake often follows numerous small ones that occur close together. With that, he said, that is not always the case, as small quakes can release pressure that had been building up, actually preventing a large quake from occurring.

On Sunday, Israel experienced two earthquakes, raising fears that a significant geological event was in the offing. Sunday's quakes followed one that occurred early Saturday morning, which was itself preceded by one last Thursday night.

The first quake on Sunday was reported at 11:50 AM, measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale. The epicenter of that quake was in the northern Kinneret, five kilometers north of Ginnosar. The second one, reported at 3:54 PM, also measured 3.6 on the Richter scale, and its epicenter was somewhat south of Ginnosar. There were no injuries or damage in either quake, but both were felt distinctly in communities around the Kinneret, including Tiberias, where police received a barrage of calls from beachgoers and residents.

On Saturday, an earthquake measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, with its epicenter in the Kinneret, was reported as well. That followed an earthquake that was felt throughout northern Israel last Thursday night. The epicenter of that quake was also in the Kinneret. It reached 3.5 on the Richter scale, and was felt in communities surrounding the lake.

Shapiro said that the government had done a great deal to prepare for a major earthquake, but that more preparation was needed. Many public buildings, including schools, and newer homes and apartment buildings could probably stand the impact of a significant earthquake, but many older buildings needed upgrades to bring them up to modern earthquake codes, he said.

Shapiro also recommended that Israelis educate themselves on the proper procedures on how to deal with earthquakes.