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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Disaster Preparedness Mock Drill in Delhi

The city today witnessed one of the largest ever coordinated mockdrills under which simulated situations were created in over 1000 sites including flyovers, malls, schools, hospitals, railway and metro stations and airport to check the capital's preparedness to respond to a high intensity earthquake.

The mega exercise involving almost all concerned agencies like police, health department, Fire, food and civil supplies, affected motorists, metro commuters as well as functioning of various government services.

All possible simulated situations like collapse of flyovers, crack in metro pillars, damage to hospitals and collapse of residential buildings due to an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale were created to test check preparedness of concerned departments.

"It was perhaps the biggest such exercise ever organised in the whole country to check disaster preparedness. It involved 15,000 officials of various departments and agencies," said Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

She said government will now analyse the results and take all corrective measures needed to further streamline the response mechanism.

Commuters in metro, bus transport as well as motorists faced inconvenience because of the mega mockdrill between 11:30 am and 2 pm.

Revenue department officials said simulated situations were created with an assumption that an earthquake of intensity 7.9 on Richter scale epicentred at Moradabad bordering Delhi rocked the city at 11.30 hrs. It was also considered that due to "La Nina" effect, the weather was freezing cold and it has been raining for the last two days.

Simulated situations like the tremor leaving scores dead, over 140 persons seriously injured, and nearly 700 persons with minor injuries were imagined in test checking the response system.

All the emergency support functionaries participated in complete coordination with one another and due to the combined effort of all the agencies, the mega mock drill was completed successfully, revenue department officials said.

Students from schools and colleges have greatly participated in this exercise. Various Emergency Operation Centres were set up to coordinate relief and rescue operations, said officials.

Dikshit said the exercise also brought awareness among citizens as in most of the places people were part of the drill.

Officials said persons trapped in the debris were rescued with the help of the human life detection machines.

The major agencies which participated in the mockdrill were, Delhi Fire Service, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Civil Defence Organization, New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Directorate of Health Services, Delhi Police, CATS & St. Johns Ambulance Services, Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Transport Corporation, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam and power discoms BSES and NDPL.

Officials said the scenarios of mockdrill in the districts were of different nature like building collapse, fire incident, road accident and CNG leak.

Asked how government would tackle the problem of unsafe buildings in the city which pose major threart in the event of an earthquake, Dikshit said the mockdrill has been able to make people aware about the dangers of unsafe buildings.

"We hope people will understand the danger of unsafe buildings. This exercise has definitely educated them about the unsafe buiildings," she said.

"It was a successful exercise. The message had gone across well," she said. World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev is brand ambassador of the awareness campaign.


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