Indian Ocean-wide mock tsunami drill today



Indian Ocean-wide mock tsunami drill today Hyderabad: A mock tsunami caused by a 9.2 magnitude earthquake will cross the north-west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, between 6.30 am and 5.30 pm IST today followed by an Indian Ocean-wide tsunami which will ultimately strike the coast of South Africa.

All this will be part of the "Exercise IOWAVE 11" which establishes the events of December 26, 2004.

"India, along with 20 Indian Ocean nations, is participating in a major Indian Ocean-wide mock tsunami drill on October 12, 2011 aimed at testing the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS). The drill aims to evaluate the system's operational capacity, the efficiency of communications among the different concerned actors, and the state of preparation of national emergency services," a press release from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (Incois) said on Tuesday

The simulated wave will cross the Indian Ocean in 12 hours to strike the coast of South Africa, the statement said. The test will also include the evacuation of coastal communities in several countries, notably India and Malaysia.

During the drill, that will take place between 6.30 am to 5.30 pm IST on October 12, the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) will generate and issue 15 tsunami bulletins to both its national and regional (IOTWS) contacts through Global Telecommunication System (GTS), email, fax, SMS as well as web.

Indian agencies participating in the drill include the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Disaster Management Offices of all coastal states/UTs, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Indian Coast Guard, the Indian Navy and critical coastal installations (ports, power plants etc).

The drill, being organised with the support of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, will also see responsibility for Indian Ocean tsunami advisories handed over to the Regional Tsunami Advisory Service Providers (RTSPs) of the region (India, Australia and Indonesia).

In India this drill is being coordinated by Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

During the drill, evacuation of coastal communities is also being planned in select villages in Puducherry, Maharashtra and a few other states/UTs, the Incois said.

"Starting from October 12, 2011, ITEWC along with other RTSPs (Australia & Indonesia), will take over the responsibility of providing tsunami bulletins to Indian Ocean member countries. Currently these bulletins are being provided by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and will continue till the end of 2012, at which time the evaluation of the new regional advisory service will be carried out," the Incois release added.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will mark the "transition of responsibility" for the tsunami warning system with a video address to the authorities of Australia, India and Indonesia at 12 noon.

PTI