NDMA conducts Multi-State Earthquake Mock Exercise in Delhi, NCR States
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) conducted a Multi-State Mock Exercise on earthquake in Delhi (all 11 districts) and the National Capital Region – Haryana (4 districts – Jhajjhar, Faridabad, Gurugram and Sonipat) and Uttar Pradesh (3 districts – Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad and Meerut) – today (June 28, 2019). The exercise was aimed to practise the preparedness and response mechanism of the State Governments to mitigate the impact of a high intensity earthquake. It was conducted in collaboration with the respective State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs). Shri Anil Baijal, Lt. Governor of Delhi and Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi were briefed at the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) of Divisional Commissioner, Delhi. Preparedness activities were reviewed through interaction with the Chief Secretary and senior officials; and a decision was taken to take up certain major initiatives in a time-bound manner.
Shri Baijal and Shri Kejriwal requested NDMA to assist the State Government in this regard. Lt. Gen. N. C. Marwah (Retd.), Member, NDMA, assured them requisite support. Later, they all visited Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, one of the sites for the simulation exercise. Shri Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister of Haryana, reviewed activities at the EOC in Faridabad and witnessed National Disaster Response Force’s (NDRF) action in rescue operation. The exercise simulated an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter Scale with its epicentre in Sohna, Haryana. It started with sirens indicating the occurrence of tremors. Everybody ducked under the tables while covering their heads. Once the tremors stopped, evacuation drills were conducted. Soon afterwards, Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) were activated at the State/ District levels, damage assessed, rescue teams formed under Incident Commanders and dispatched to their respective locations.
Rescue drills were conducted in coordination with various agencies, such as the Army, Air Force, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs)/ Central Police Organisation (CPO), NDRF, Traffic Police, Fire Fighting department, and Civil Defence. “Better coordination among various agencies is of utmost importance and often the key to a successful post-disaster response,” said Lt. Gen. N. C. Marwah (Retd.). He also emphasised on the need for regularly conducting such exercises in Delhi-NCR as the region falls in the high-risk seismic zone IV and III. In the debriefing exercise carried out after the drill, participants brought out shortcomings and ways to address them. This Exercise is the first in a series of mock exercises on various disasters that will be conducted under the Centre’s 100-day Action Plan on disaster preparedness. While an Exercise has been conducted ahead of the upcoming Amarnath Yatra, other exercises include a flood and an earthquake preparedness exercise in July in Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, respectively. These exercises culminate into a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise in Tamil Nadu in August.
India is vulnerable to many disasters being a multi hazard disaster prone country. India is vulnerable, in varying degrees, to a large number of disasters. More than 58.6 per cent of the landmass is prone to earthquakes of moderate to very high intensity; over 40 million hectares (12%) of its land is prone to floods and river erosion; close to 5,700 kms, out of the 7,516 kms long coastline is prone to cyclones and tsunamis; 68% of its cultivable area is vulnerable to droughts; and, its hilly areas are at risk from landslides and avalanches. Moreover, India is also vulnerable to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) emergencies and other man-made disasters. Disaster risks in India are further compounded by increasing vulnerabilities related to changing demographics and socio-economic conditions, unplanned urbanization, development within high-risk zones, environmental degradation, climate change, geological hazards, epidemics and pandemics.