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Mock exercise on earthquake disaster scenario conducted across Arunachal Pradesh

The response mechanism for mock exercise was based on the Incident Response System notified by the Govt of Arunachal Pradesh which shall be executed through Incident Response Teams (IRTs).

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Itanagar: A multi-state level mock exercise on earthquake disaster scenario was conducted across all districts of Arunachal Pradesh by the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) in collaboration with National Disaster Management Authority (NMDA), to check on the preparedness level of responders in tackling disaster situations.

The response mechanism for mock exercise was based on the Incident Response System notified by the Govt of Arunachal Pradesh which shall be executed through Incident Response Teams (IRTs).

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The objective of the mock drill was to review the emergency preparedness plan of all the stakeholders and other responding agencies and evaluate standard operating procedure, so that concerned persons would deliver their duties effectively while keeping in cognizance of life and property, an official release said.

NDMA senior consultant Major General (Retd) Sudhir Bahl, who coordinated the overall event for the State, highlighted the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders as per Incident Response System, reviewed the disaster management (DM) plans, emergency support functions, public awareness, and identified gaps.

Five sites for mock action were selected across districts which included schools, government offices, residential area, hospital, bridge, IOC depot, etc.

Enacting an 8.7 Richter scale earthquake scenario, siren was blown at 9 am. Assuming massive destruction of roads, buildings, communication, immediate actions and business continuity check was done by Incident Response Teams across districts as well at the State level. Situation reports from the districts were collected through satellite phones, emails, and WT messages. Personnel from NDRF, SDRF, Indian Army, CRPF, ITBP, BSF, Police, Assam Rifles, etc were used in search and rescue operation of victims. NGOs, community volunteers, AAPDA Mitra, civil societies also actively participated in the mock exercise.

During the debriefing, disaster management authorities were asked to share good points, input, and shortcomings experienced during the mock drill in their respective districts. Most of the districts mentioned lack of communication network as a major issue faced by them. The importance of setting up wireless communication in each of the districts was specified by the SDMA. Further, they mentioned the shortage of search and rescue equipment in the districts.

Major General Bahl advised the SDMA and DDMAs on the importance of multi-agency response and coordination. Further, proper traffic management during disaster, following SOPs of setting up relief camps, proper implementation of building norms, implementation of school DM plans, hospital preparedness to handle large casualties, etc were crucial to disaster management during exigencies.

Maj General (Retd) Jarken Gamlin shared his experience of rescue and relief during the earthquake that occurred in Nepal on 25th April 2015. He also shared various issues faced during the rescue operation and advised the SDMA and DDMAs to be prepared for such disasters. 

Secretary, Disaster Management thanked the NDMA for the support in conducting the mock exercise. He shared how the mock exercise held in 2020 helped in Covid management.

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