ITEWC conducts multi-State mega mock Tsunami exercise

ITEWC conducts multi-State mega mock Tsunami exercise

The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) based at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) conducted “Multi-State Mega Mock Exercise of Tsunami for East Coast of India” on Friday.

Hyderabad : The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) based at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) conducted “Multi-State Mega Mock Exercise of Tsunami for East Coast of India” on Friday.

Participants in the drill included State Disaster Management Authorities of West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The mock drill was conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). To prepare for the same, INCOIS conducted a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) workshop on November 8 at INCOIS campus for disaster management authorities of the concerned states, NDRF, Indian Navy, Coast Guards etc.,

The INCOIS simulated a scenario of an earthquake of 9.2 magnitude earthquake at Nicobar Islands, followed by ocean-wide tsunami. The simulated tsunami waves of above 10 meters hit many coasts of east coast of India. During the drill, that took place between 0930 Hrs to 1330 Hrs IST on November 24, 2017, INCOIS generated and issued 7 tsunami bulletins to its registered contacts through email, fax, SMS as well as web.

This drill provided an opportunity for disaster management authorities to exercise their operational lines of communication, exercise their SOPs, review their tsunami warning and emergency response procedures and to promote emergency preparedness. Most importantly, the mock drill included community level participation from most of the coastal villages of all 5 coastal states of India.

Approximately around 6500 people were evacuated in Andhra Pradesh itself, by Andhra Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority (APSDMA) & 10thBattalion of NDRF and moved to safe zones in 9 (nine) coastal districts (Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore). In Odishaall 6 coastal districts (Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri and Ganjam) participated in mock drill. In Tamil Nadu, from Orurkuppam village around 630 people and around 600 people from villages Panithittu and Madakadi of Puducherry were evacuated with the help of 04thBattalion of NDRF Arakkonam. At village level, the mock drill provided guidance about appropriate behavior during tsunamis, areas to be evacuated and associated route maps as well as response and cooperation required with officials for safety measures. All the line departments (police, fire, medical, revenue, etc.) were involved in the mock drill.

At Chennai port, all concerned agencies / departments were informed by their Deputy Conservator, Chennai Port Trust to take necessary action as per their SOP for Tsunami. Also, all cargo works were stopped and all ships were evacuated from Chennai Port and sent into deep sea. All personnel inside the port were evacuated and sent to elevated area well away from shore and emergency fire service and Ambulance were kept standby.

By afternoon of November 24, 2015, INCOIS has received some feedback from disaster management officials, all of which is positive and satisfactory. It is also determined that while SMS and Email communication modes were timely. Most of the officials involved have recommended that this type of mock exercise be frequently conducted to ensure awareness and preparedness among the public. INCOIS yet to receive full information from all participating agencies and expect around 8000 people have participated actively in mock drill all along the east coast of India.

Two groups of International observers from Pacific Island Countries containing 10 members in each group visited Odisha and Andhra Pradesh respectively, to witness the mock drill and were very impressed with tsunami preparedness and awareness at community level.

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