Israel's earthquake measures utterly inadequate

Source(s): Globes Publisher Itonut Ltd, Monitin group

By Ori Chudy

[...]

In order to attempt to cope with a possible earthquake in Israel, the government approved a national outline plan in 2005 for reinforcing buildings against earthquakes - National Outline Plan 38. The declared goal of the plan was to facilitate a mechanism for reinforcing buildings in Israel in the realization that preventative action would save casualties and reduce damage in an earthquake. 

While National Outline Plan 38 was approved and began operating, however, it is accompanied by quite a few problems preventing large-scale reinforcement and demolition and reconstruction of buildings. The state's solution for reinforcing buildings under the plan is based on agreements between tenants and private developers in exchange for expansion of building rights. The plan is linked to the economic viability of the venture; in places where the project is not economically viable, there is no demand for it.

[...]

National Outline Plan 38, which began as a plan to reinforce buildings, willy-nilly became a real estate plan of which reinforcement is only a minor part. In practice, it is now nothing less than a plan for disavowing the government's responsibility for reinforcing buildings.

Leaving the reinforcement of buildings exclusively in the hands of the free market is resulting in a situation in which economic viability is almost completely confined to central Israel. There are a few cases of reinforcement and government initiatives in the outline areas, but they pale in comparison with the scope of the problem.

[...]

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