To check Gujarat’s preparedness in dealing with a tsunami that had once hit the state in 1945, a huge mock drill is scheduled on September 4.
As part of the exercise, 1,800 people from four villages of Kutch and Jamnagar districts will be moved to safer places. These villages are Maska and Janakpur rom Mandvi taluka of Kutch district, and Digvijaygram from Jamnagar taluka and Balachadi from Jodiya taluka of Jamnagar district.
Kutch and Jamnagar districts fall in the tsunami-prone areas.
Details of the mock drill were chalked out in a meeting called by Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) at State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) in Gandhinagar on Thursday.
“The exercise is aimed at testing the current procedures of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System and help identify operational strengths and weaknesses. While the purpose of this exercise is to evaluate and improve effectiveness of the warning dissemination system, it will also increase tsunami preparedness, evaluate response capabilities and improve co-ordination,” said Anuradha Mall, chief executive officer of GSDMA, who had chaired the Thursday meeting.
Not only preparedness, the exercise is also aimed at identifying gaps with the help of pre-exercise and post-exercise evaluation process, Mall added.
The mock exercise holds significance for Gujarat, which is prone to Tsunami due to its 1,600 km coastline and the probability of occurrence of near and offshore submarine earthquakes in the Arabian Sea. The Makran Subduction Zone (MSZ) on South West Karachi is an active fault line area, which may cause a high magnitude earthquake under the sea leading to a Tsunami, officials said.
Mall said that the exercise will comprise of two scenarios on September 4 and 5 – North Western and Eastern Indian Ocean region. The first will stimulate a 9 magnitude earthquake off coast of Iran, Makran Trench followed by a second at Eastern coast with an earthquake simulation of 9.3 magnitude along Northern Sumatra. Since Gujarat falls on the Western coast, it will commence at 11.30 am on September 4.
During the exercise, the Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (ITEWS) at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) Hyderabad will provide simulated tsunami threat information. Gujarat will then evaluate the information and disseminate the same. A total of 15 bulletins will be issued by INCOIS, starting from 11.30 am on September 4, with the last bulletin to be issued at 11.30 pm.
The ITEWS established at INCOIS in Hyderabad will co-ordinate this exercise in collaboration with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Navy, Coast Guards and stakeholders from state and district administration.
“The mock exercise will also fill the gap in co-ordination among various departments. The readiness of communication systems which are lying with the district and state level offices will be tested and at the end of the exercise the communication gaps, if exist will be identified.” added Mall.
In 1945, Kandla coast was hit by a tsunami of 12 metres height due to an earthquake in the Makran fault line. The tsunami-prone areas in Gujarat are coastal villages of Kutch, Jamnagar, Rajkot, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Anand, Ahmedabad, Bharuch, Surat, Navsari and Valsad districts.