Massive natn’l exercise to simulate 7,000 deaths in devastating ‘earthquake’

“Turning Point 6” set to begin Sunday nation-wide, will last for 4 days & drill emergency teams, schools & citizens on how to act during a devastating earthquake

According to scenario, 170,000 people will become homeless.

By Lilach Shoval


The ground will “shake” this coming Sunday morning, at least in theory: The Defense Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces Homefront Command are making the final preparations for a massive country-wide drill simulating a large-scale, devastating earthquake.

The training exercise, titled Turning Point 6, is scheduled to conclude on Thursday.

Soldiers from the IDF Homefront Command training for the “earthquake” they will face during Turning Point 6 next week. – Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

This is the first time that the State of Israel is conducting a nation-wide earthquake preparedness drill. According to the itinerary, at 11 a.m. the school system will practice earthquake procedures and at 7 p.m. citizens will be asked to take shelter in safe areas, with an emphasis on teaching children what to do in the event of an earthquake. Safe areas are defined as open, outdoor areas, stairwells or fortified rooms inside the home. Instructions will be given to the public through emergency radio and television broadcasts, as well as text messages directly to the phones of citizens whose devices support a certain type of technology.

The simulation will involve the following “script:” the ground will shake and 7,000 people will be killed, 70,000 will be wounded and 170,000 people will be left homeless. Based on the plan, 80 regional councils will participate in the drill. Emergency teams will also deal with hazardous chemical leaks within the framework of the exercise.

Israel is bracing for 7,000 dead, 70,000 wounded in the event an earthquake hits. Above, a previous exercise. – Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

The IDF Homefront Command instructed citizens as follows: If you can exit a structure within a matter of seconds, you should do so while finding an open outdoor area. If you cannot immediately leave the structure, you must quickly find a fortified room, leave the door to the room open or go into your building’s stairwell. If all of these options are unfeasible, you must find shelter underneath sturdy furniture, such as a table or desk.

GOC Homefront Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg explained the importance of the drill during a press conference on Thursday, saying that “under the threat of earthquakes, every one of us faces difficulties and challenges. Our duty to civilians is to maintain stability and to project strength.”

Earlier this month Eisenberg said, “We want to achieve better emergency awareness among civilians, various organizations and government ministries. The more prepared civilians are, the fewer losses there will be.”

The Turning Point 5 drill, held in 2011, was the largest civil defense exercise in Israel’s history.

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