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Thimphu’s first earthquake simulation exercise

Published Nov 14, 2018
Updated Jun 18, 2020

The Thimphu town’s first earthquake simulation exercise was carried out recently to test the preparedness of the stakeholders in the event of a disaster. It was conducted as per the Thimphu Thromde Disaster Management and Contingency plan.

Different earthquake associated disaster scenarios such as fire and collapsing of buildings were created during the exercise on November 10. The simulation was carried out from 9 am till 12:30 pm.

Teams for search and rescue, medical assistance, traffic control and firefighting were stationed at different locations to respond to the disaster.

After the exercise, sharing their experiences, the participants highlighted many shortcomings in terms of emergency response and coordination besides shortages of necessary equipment.

The simulation exercise also tested the Incident Command System placed in Thimphu Thromde.

“We had a problem of communication linkages, the operating chief could not contact the search and rescue team, and the medical team whereby the dispatch of ambulances and fire brigade were delayed because of which we got so many reports of losing lives,” Kinlay Dorjee, the Thimphu Thrompon, said.

“I was supposed to call a rescue team after a situation was created where people are trapped under collapsed traditional houses. It was difficult to get a response from the thromde emergency office due to the poor phone networks. And it took them quite a long time to reach to the site,” Kuenga Yonten, a participant, said.

The Thromde office says they have taken note of the feedback and will work on addressing the shortcomings through training and investment on the required equipment.

The Thimphu Thromde in collaboration with the Department of Disaster Management and Save the Children carried out the earthquake simulation exercise.