Emergency services on Monday held a national tsunami drill, practicing evacuating cities along the southern portion of Israel’s Mediterranean coast.
The drill, code-named Blue Tidal Wave, is aimed at raising the preparedness of citizens, local authorities, and emergency services for the case of a tidal wave.
First responders practiced evacuating residents from the beachfront cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod to secure areas.
The drill was jointly conducted by the Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) and Israel Police.
Earthquakes caused by the African Plate drifting northward underneath the Eurasian Plate can trigger tsunamis in the Mediterranean Sea.
Geologists warn that while rare, tsunamis in the Mediterranean tend to happen around once every century.
In 1908, thousands were killed when a 7 magnitude quake hit the Messina region in Italy, triggering a tsunami with 10-meter-high waves.
Last week, NEMA unveiled new tsunami warning signs at Ashkelon and Ashdod beaches that will be placed all along the coast in the coming months.
The “Tsunami Hazard Zone” signs will demarcate areas at high risk for flooding, map escape routes and provide basic instructions to the public.
Israel joins the US, Italy, Japan, Thailand and Chile in taking precautions and mapping emergency escape routes specifically designed for a tsunami-like flooding.