Following the recent war between Israel and Hamas, which is a Palestinian militant group, various security measures have been put in place to guarantee the safety of residents during rocket attacks.
All residential and industrial buildings in Israel must have shelters, also known as mamad, as per the county’s Civil Defense Act of 1951.
These shelters are reinforced concrete rooms within buildings where people can hide during attacks, including rocket attacks. The purpose of the building is to safeguard the lives of the residents during the attacks as it minimises the impact of the rockers and bombs.
On the other hand, Israel also has a security alarm system such as a siren which alerts the locals in case of a potential missile or rocket attack.
A photo of a shelter in a residential building in Israel.
As per Israel’s Defense Forces, popularly known as Home Front Command, residents are warned before the rocket lands to enable them to get to the shelters on time. In some states, the warning can be done between 90 seconds and three minutes prior.
Speaking to BBC’s Waihiga Mwaura on Monday, Abigael Adjiel, a Ghanaian living in Israel, revealed that alerts are also sent on the phones to caution the residents required to move to the shelter.
Once in the shelter, all residents must stay there for close to 20 minutes before any situation is neutralised.
“We were issued with protocols to find shelter. If a rocket happens in my state, I will hear a siren on my phone so that I can run to the shelter. When you hear the siren in every state, you have to move.
“The shelter is very safe and you can stay there for 15 to 20 minutes. But if it is consistent you have to be there until it stops totally,” she stated.
Adjiel added that the shelters are also equipped with water and a bed if the situation worsens.
Inside the shelters, Home Front Command requires one to sit on the floor, below window level and against an inner wall. However, they must not sit opposite a window.
For those who are in storey buildings and cannot get to the shelter in time, it is a requirement that they run and stay in the building staircases.
“If you are out in the open country, lie down and protect your head with your hands. If you are in a car, stop by the side of the road, get out of the car and go into the nearest building or sheltered spot,” Home Front Command provides in its guidelines to foreign embassies.
Kenyans in Israel
On Tuesday, Diaspora Affairs PS Roseline Njogu confirmed to the media that all Kenyans had been accounted for, with evacuation plans being considered when necessary.
According to international media publications such as Al Jazeera, 900 people have been killed in Israel, with 700 others injured in retaliatory attacks in Gaza.
PS Roseline Njogu gestures during a meeting with a delegation from the Labour and Welfare Bureau of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Tuesday, June 27, 2023.
State Department of Diaspora Affairs