2nd minor earthquake within hours rattles northern Israel; some buildings evacuated
( TOI )
A minor earthquake shook northern Israel on Sunday afternoon, sending some residents into the streets during the area’s second temblor within hours.
Israel’s Geological Survey said the 3.5-magnitude quake struck just after midday, centered 16 kilometers southeast of the city of Tiberias.
Police said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no warnings about disturbances at sea.
A series of fault lines runs along the Red Sea, the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley, causing geological activity in the area.
In Beit She’an, employees were evacuated from city hall as part of the standard procedures during an earthquake. A school was also evacuated in nearby Afula.
An unnamed resident of Beit She’an told the Walla news site that they were concerned a larger quake could be on the way.
“We felt a short earthquake just like it during the night. We left the building and waited a few minutes. It is very surprising that there was another earthquake and there is concern there may be a bigger one soon,” they said.
A resident of Nazareth told Channel 12 news that they also “felt the earthquake strongly.”
The quake came just hours after an earlier minor quake in northern Israel, late Saturday night.
Israel’s Geological Survey said that 3.7-magnitude earthquake began at 11:36 p.m. on Saturday. The epicenter was around 19 kilometers northeast of Beit She’an, near Israel’s border with Jordan.
“It went on for a relatively long time. It moved things around in my house,” a Haifa resident told Walla news after the first quake. “My desk was moving by itself for four or five seconds. The whole house, the bed, the room shook.”
“My whole body was trembling with fear. I started grabbing my kids to get outside. The bed really moved. All the windows were shaking,” a woman from Tiberias said.
Authorities on Sunday reminded residents of earthquake protocols, with anyone who might be in danger told to head for an open space.
People unable to leave their building should enter their bomb-proof secure room, leaving the doors and windows open, or go into the stairwell and head down. If neither of these are options, they should shelter in the corner of a room.
Those who are outdoors at the time of a quake should stay away from buildings, trees, power cables and any items that could fall.
Anyone close to a beach should move away at least one kilometer away from the water, or make sure they are on the fourth floor or above in case of flooding or a tsunami.
Anyone driving at the time of a quake should stop at the side of the road and wait inside the vehicle until the end of the earthquake, but should avoid stopping under a bridge or at a junction.
Earlier this month, a 6.6-magnitude quake hit off the coast of Cyprus. It was felt in nearby Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.
Israel lies along an active fault line: the Syrian-African rift, a tear in the earth’s crust that runs the length of the border separating Israel and Jordan. The last major earthquake to hit the region was in 1927 — a 6.2-magnitude tremor that killed 500 people and injured 700 — and seismologists estimate that such earthquakes occur in this region approximately every 100 years.
In 2018, the state ombudsman warned Israel is woefully unprepared for a major earthquake.