The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will conduct two mock exercises on earthquake preparedness in this week covering all districts of Uttarakhand. The exercises, to be conducted in collaboration with the State Government, will assess the readiness of various stakeholder departments in the event of a high-intensity earthquake.
The first exercise will be held tomorrow and cover Dehradun, Tehri Garhwal, Haridwar, Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Pauri Garhwal and Rudraprayag districts. In this connection, a coordination conference and a table-top exercise were held today through video-conferencing. Senior officials from all stakeholder departments such as NDRF, Health, Police, Education, Firefighting, Civil Defense, Public Relations, Transport, etc. attended these preparatory meetings.
Yet another round of a coordination conference and a table-top exercise will be held on Wednesday. This will be followed by the second mock exercise on Thursday covering Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Champawat, Almora, Nainital and Udham Singh Nagar districts.
These exercises will deal with simulated scenarios of earthquakes wherein the participants will be trained on key aspects of Disaster Management such as the formation of Incident Response Teams and Emergency Operation Centres (EOC), coordination among various participating agencies, evacuation and medical preparedness.
Aimed at enhancing the preparedness and response mechanism of key stakeholders, these exercises will also help to highlight areas that need improvements. NDMA expert Major General V.K. Datta (Retd.), who will lead the exercises, said, “Mock exercises help in filling gaps and ensuring better communication thus improving coordination among various agencies in real-life situations.” He further emphasised on the need for regularly conducting such exercises in Uttarakhand as the entire hill State falls either in the Seismic Zone V or IV and has experienced many high-intensity earthquakes in the past.
After the drills, post-exercise analyses will also be carried out to discuss the shortcomings, challenges and ways to improve them.
NDMA regularly conducts such mock exercises across the country in its efforts to improve preparedness and response mechanisms for various disasters. NDMA has conducted more than 500 mock exercises in different States and Union Territories. Next month, it will conduct a mock exercise on flood and tsunami preparedness in Puducherry.