Health planning for disasters builds on an awareness of ways in which the disaster affects health and on anticipation of tasks to be performed by the health sector.
In view of the possibility of an earthquake of significant magnitude in Israel, and in the absence of previous earthquake experience, published data of earthquake health effects were studied, such as causes of death and injury, casualty rates and factors influencing these, distribution of injuries and their severity, effect on health care facilities and on physical, social and psychological environments. Implications of the studied data were applied to relevant conditions in Israel and to an earthquake there. A predisaster vulnerability assessment was thus obtained, pointing to the nature, size, and space and time distribution of tasks the health sector would be expected to perform should an earthquake occur in Israel.
On the basis of this assessment some recommendations for the preparation and preparedness of the health sector for such an occurrence are submitted.