Thousands to be evacuated from coastal areas during Indian Ocean-wide tsunami mock drill

Friday, Sep 2, 2016,11:11 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Hyderabad | India is participating in a major Indian Ocean-wide tsunami mock drill on September 7-8 during which thousands of people will be evacuated from coastal areas in over half a dozen states and warning and detection systems will be put to test.

The massive exercise, which will see participation from 23 other Indian Ocean nations, would involve evacuation of around 35,000 people from the coastal communities mostly in Odisha and also in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Gujarat and Goa.

The end-to-end warning systems – from tsunami detection and forecast, threat evaluation and alert formulation, dissemination to public and their awareness and responses – would be put to test during the mock drill.

‘IOWave16′ is being organised by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UNESCO, which coordinated the setting up of Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS) in the aftermath of the December 26, 2004 tsunami.

The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC), based out of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) here is capable of detecting tsunamigenic earthquakes within 10 minutes of their occurrence and issue timely advisories to disaster management officials as well as to the vulnerable communities, an INCOIS statement said.

This state-of-the-art warning centre, operational since October 2007, has all necessary computational & communication infrastructure for the reception of real-time data from seismic & sea-level networks as well as generation and dissemination of tsunami bulletins for the entire Indian Ocean region, it said.

IOWave16 will comprise two scenarios: the first will simulate an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.2 south off Sumatra, Indonesia, on September 7 at 0830 IST and the second will simulate an earthquake with a magnitude of 9 in the Makran Trench south of Iran and Pakistan on September 8 (1130 IST).

Both will be conducted in real time lasting for about 12 hours and ITEWC will issue 15 tsunami bulletins to both national and regional stakeholders through GTS (global telecommunication system), email, fax, SMS as well as web.

The major objectives of IOWave16 include testing the efficiency of communication links, disaster management offices and local communities at risk.

The drill would facilitate exercising the standard operating procedures of emergency services and evaluating their state of readiness to handle tsunami-like emergency situations. Most importantly, IOWave16 is expected to enhance the awareness and preparedness among all stakeholders, including the vulnerable communities, it was stated.

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