India, along with 23 otherIndian Ocean Nations, participated in a major Indian ocean-wide tsunami mock exercise (drill) on 4th& 5thSeptember, 2018. The Exercise, known as IOWave18,was organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, which coordinated the setting up of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS) in the aftermath of the 26 December 2004 tsunami.
IOWave18 which was completed yesterday focused on a simulatingan earthquake with magnitude of 9.3 at Northern Sumatra, Indonesia at 0830 IST. All eastern coastal states participated till community level. The exercise todayis being conducted in realtime lasting for around 12 hours and ITEWC will issue 15 tsunami bulletins in all,to both national and regional stakeholders through GTS, email, fax, SMS as well as on website.
In India, IOWave18 is being coordinated by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) with support from National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Coastal States/UTs.
In yesterday’s exercise, over 1000 people were evacuated in Andaman & Nicobar. Similarly, in West Bengal over 1200 people were evacuated in 3 districts. In Tamil Nadu, 13 districts participated with 5054 people being evacuated. There were around 100 evacuees in Puducherry. In Andhra Pradesh 9 districts participated with over 8020 evacuees. Odisha had a participation of 6 districts (328 villages) with around 1,00,000 people evacuated.
Overall over the 2-day exercise, all coastal states tested communication modes for receipt of bulletins from INCOIS. The end-to-end warning system from tsunami detection and forecast, threat evaluation and alert formulation, alert dissemination to public and their awareness and response was put to test during this exercise. Where possible states participated up to community-level with practice evacuations. 44 Coastal Districts of 9 States/UTs are participated up to community level. Community level evacuations were carried out in around 375 villages. Over 125,000 people were evacuated during the exercise.
Major General (Retd) Dr. V.K. Naik, Senior Consultant, NDMA acted as the observer for this exercise and contacted the participating states down to community level to verify their receipt of bulletins and response.