ZAKA volunteers in major earthquake simulation drill
Jerusalem, June 15, 2017 – ZAKA volunteers participated in an extreme earthquake simulation drill earlier this week in a drill entitled “Earthquake 2017” that brought together all the security and emergency forces, including the National Emergency Authority, the Israel Police, the IDF Home Front Command, MDA and others.
“A very powerful earthquake took place this morning, causing a tsunami at Poleg Beach in Netanya,” explains Roi Solomon, head of the ZAKA simulation team in the Sharon area. “During a search for casualties, we located dozens of bodies on or near the beach. After evacuating the bodies and all human remains from the tsunami area with the help of 4×4 vehicles, the ZAKA volunteers began the process of identification.”
At the same time, a second large-scale exercise was taking place at Moshav Beit Hazayit on the outskirts of Jerusalem, with the participation of hundreds of security and emergency personnel. The drill simulated earthquake damage in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood in the capital, where many residential buildings collapsed. The source of the earthquake, which measured 7.1 on the Richter scale, was in the Dead Sea area.
“The volunteers worked on the exercise that simulated hundreds of people injured and dozens of civilians killed. The security personnel arrived first at the scene”, explains ZAKA Jerusalem Commander Bentzi Oering. “We arrived at the scene together with the IDF Home Front Command and rescued people and bodies from the rubble. ZAKA volunteers also helped in forensic identification of the bodies.”
During the day, dozens of residential buildings collapsed, electricity supplies were cut off and the main water pipes were destroyed. “There are thousands of people homeless in Jerusalem, Maale Adumim, Mevasseret Zion and Ariel,” continued Oering.
ZAKA commander of special operations Haim Weingarten praised the cooperation of all the different emergency and security services in the drill: “Everyone spoke the same language – it was really remarkable and it would appear that, should an earthquake happen has ve’shalom , we will be prepared for the goals we have set ourselves in ZAKA, to save those who can be saved and honor those who cannot.”
Images courtesy ZAKA