Israel launches national earthquake early warning system

Jerusalem: Israel has formally launched a national earthquake early warning system that could alert Israel’s Home Front Command (HFC) within seconds once it detects earthquake signs.

The TRUAA system, which costs the Israeli government nearly $14 million to build and has undergone tests by the Geological Survey of Israel since 2014, comprises 120 seismic sensors installed nationwide, according to the Geological Survey.

If the earthquake is measured at a magnitude more than 4.4, the system would prompt the HFC to send an earthquake siren which can be received through smartphones, Xinhua news agency reported.

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It will take several seconds for the system to identify the quakes and “another second to distribute the alert through the HFC alert,” Ran Nof, a seismologist at the Geological Survey, told Xinhua.

For an earthquake occurring at the northern Dead Sea, people in Jerusalem will only have three seconds to react, while those in Tel Aviv and in Haifa, will have 18 seconds and nearly half a minute respectively, Nof said.

“It’s still effective. Buildings do not collapse immediately. It might take additional few seconds and people will still have, maybe, still have time to react,” he added.

The Israeli seismologist noted Israel should also invest in fortifying buildings and teaching the public proper preparedness and response.

Israel is a small and narrow country situated on the Syrian-African rift valley, an area of significant seismic activity, making it prone to earthquakes.

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