Arutz Sheva was on hand as emergency personnel participated on Monday in a drill simulating a tsunami wave, meant to raise public awareness and practice appropriate and effective responses in the event that a tsunami hits Israel’s Mediterranean coastline. 

Dubbed “Nachshol Kachol” (Blue Tidal Wave), the exercise included evacuating citizens from the beaches of Ashdod and Ashkelon to safe gathering points in accordance with the tsunami warning signs.

The exercise was conducted by the National Emergency Defense Ministry and Israeli police, in cooperation with the Home Front Command, local authorities and emergency agencies.

The drill, explained Dr. Beverly Goodman of the University of Haifa, “is an opportunity for all the different bodies that are in charge of responding to a tsunami to practice.”

The perception that the Mediterranean Sea is calmer is a “myth”, she added. “Most people think that this sea is a relatively calm place, but the reality is that in term of the number of tsunamis that occur there, it’s second to the Pacific and areas that we’re familiar with.”

While there aren’t “mega tsunamis” in the Mediterranean, stressed Dr. Goodman, “they are common and they are lethal so they do occur sometimes in a way that causes enough damage and loss of life.”

The last major tsunami was about 800 years ago but, said Dr. Goodman, it’s important to be prepared even if it doesn’t happen in our lifetime.

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