Pollution in Haifa
Pollution in HaifaFlash 90

Residents of Haifa and its environs may be exposed to toxins if there is an earthquake of even moderate severity, Maariv reported.

Haifa, with its factories and chemical emissions, sits on the Yagur Fault which passes through the Haifa Bay area to the Jordan Valley.

According to Maariv, sources in the field warned years ago that a moderate earthquake could kill at least 5,000 residents almost immediately - most of them dying from exposure to chloride, ammonia, bromide, and pollution from particles of other flammable chemicals.

Maariv quoted the Environmental Protection Ministry has said that "the hazardous materials industry in Israel is not prepared for a major earthquake, and the Ministry does not have the tools to enforce preparedness."

Last year, factories were given a preparedness plan prepared specifically for them, but the plans were never enforced due to the Ministry's lack of manpower.