'Tsunami' hits Someshwara beach; rescue op successful

'Tsunami' hits Someshwara beach; rescue op successful

SDMA gives thumbs up to preparedness of admin after mock drill

Ambulances zipping in and out. Home guards rushing to the help of rescued lot. Health workers attending to people in need. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel getting ready with their equipment. The men in khaki on toes, monitoring the happenings.

This was the scene at Uchila Bovi Boys’ English Medium School near Someshwara beach, Mangaluru, on Thursday. The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) had set up an incident command post at the school, following back-to-back tsunami alerts from ‘10 km off coast of Pakistan’ starting from 11.30 am IST sounded from Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (Incois).

Hold your breaths: it was a mock drill to set up a system that can attend to exigency at the time of a tsunami. The efforts made by the district administration also came in for a pat, with Pradeep Kumar, coordinator for State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) expressing his satisfaction about the same.

Pradeep Kumar told the media, “The response mechanism has improved when compared to a mock drill conducted on management of chemical disasters in the month of February, in the district. As many as 42 agencies (government departments and others) were involved that time, that was scaled down to 18 in the drive held on Thursday.

“As many as 300 personnel, from frontline to backhand men that included officials and others alike from 18 agencies (government departments and others) were a part of the drill. The agencies included Indian coast guards, coastal police, home guards, police, fire and emergency services personnel, Revenue Department, local gram panchayat, panchayat development officer (PDO) and village accountant, to name a few. It was intended at reviewing the preparedness of the district administration in the case of disaster, from rescue operation to communication, evacuation to response time, as per the national disaster management authority (NDMA) guidelines.”

Kumar said, “The incident command post for the day was set up in the school, close to Bettampady village, located near the beach. It included a temporary relief centre with separate facilities for men and women and medical aid post. Besides, 200 to 500 beds had been collectively reserved in various hospitals in the district, making for the preparedness during disasters in future.”

In addition to this, personnel attached to the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from 10th battalion, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, who were on routine acclimatisation exercise at Shivamogga were also involved in the drill. Of the total 32-member NDRF battalion, majority of 26 were involved, as six of them were a part of the similar exercise at Udupi. They were led by Assistant Commandant Subheesh K S.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Kumar, also the commander of the operation, said, “Bettampady was identified for evacuation drill as it was 50 metres close to the sea. It has a population of 580 with several households.”

Three states
The mock drill was a part of simultaneous exercise conducted in three States and union territory including Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat and Goa respectively. Mangaluru in Dakshina Kannada, Kodavooru in Udupi and Karwar in Uttara Kannada district were covered in the day.
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