Tsunami drill begins in 24 Indian Ocean Nations; 40,000 evacuated in India

Tsunami drill begins in 24 Indian Ocean Nations; 40,000 evacuated in India

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HYDERABAD: An earth quake measuring 9.3 on the Richter scale was being simulated in Sumatra, Indonesia on Wednesday as part of the 2 day mock drill that was conducted by the UNESCO in the Indian Ocean nations.

India is among the 24 countries participating in the drill, which had already evacuated thousands of people along the coastal areas when the warning and detection system put to test.

Named ‘IOWave16’, the two-day mock drill 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.

According to authorities, the exercise involves evacuation of around 40,000 people from the coastal regions of India in less than three hours as a precautionary measure for any such future calamity.

In India, the evacuation is being taken up in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Gujarat and Goa.

Besides India, other participating nations are – Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, France (La Réunion), Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor Leste, Yemen.

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

On the second day of the two-day exercise on Thursday, agencies involved will simulate a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in the Makran Trench, south of Iran and Pakistan, in the northwestern Indian Ocean.

A devastating tsunami had hit the coastal areas of India on Dec. 26, 2004, which claimed around three lakh lives and displaced twice as many. The origin of the massive earthquake measuring 9.3 on the Richter scale was near Indonesia and it took three hours for the tsunami to reach Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

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