Source: News Bharati English21 Feb 2017 10:10:44

Dehradun, February 21: Due to sudden climate change we all are supposed to get ready to face the consequences of the nature. The way nature is giving us back is what we need to get alert and prepared to face it.  The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will conduct two mock exercises on earthquake preparedness in this week covering all districts of Uttarakhand.The exercises will assess the readiness of various stakeholder departments in the event of a high-intensity earthquake. The first exercise will be held today which will cover Dehradun, Tehri Garhwal, Haridwar, Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Pauri Garhwal and Rudraprayag districts. In this connection, a coordination conference and a table-top exercise were held on Monday through video-conferencing.

Senior officials from all stakeholder departments such as NDRF, Health, Police, Education, Firefighting, Civil Defense, Public Relations, Transport, etc. attended these preparatory meetings. Yet another round of a coordination conference and a table-top exercise will be held on Wednesday. This will be followed by the second mock exercise on Thursday covering Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Champawat, Almora, Nainital and Udham Singh Nagar districts.

These exercises will deal with simulated scenarios of earthquakes wherein the participants will be trained on key aspects of Disaster Management such as the formation of Incident Response Teams and Emergency Operation Centres (EOC), coordination among various participating agencies, evacuation and medical preparedness.

The exercises are aimed at enhancing the preparedness and response mechanism of key stakeholders; it will also help to highlight areas that need improvements. NDMA expert Major General V.K. Datta (Retd.), who will lead the exercises, said, "Mock exercises help in filling gaps and ensuring better communication thus improving coordination among various agencies in real-life situations." He further emphasised on the need for regularly conducting such exercises in Uttarakhand as the entire hill State falls either in the Seismic Zone V or IV and has experienced many high-intensity earthquakes in the past.

After the drills, post-exercise analyses will also be carried out to discuss the shortcomings, challenges and ways to improve them. NDMA regularly conducts such mock exercises across the country in its efforts to improve preparedness and response mechanisms for various disasters. NDMA has conducted more than 500 mock exercises in different States and Union Territories. Next month, it will conduct a mock exercise on flood and tsunami preparedness in Puducherry.