No. 654/2019-PUB 11th July 2019
Himachal Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority (HPSDMA) with the support of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) today conducted a Mega Mock Exercise on earthquake in which State and all 12 districts participated. The scenario was that a earthquake of 8 magnitude occurred at night time with its epicenter at Sundernagar in Mandi district.
Principal Secretary Revenue and Disaster Management Onkar Sharma said that earthquake was chosen for scenario as it was main threat for the state as it falls under Zone IV & V earthquake. He said that scenario was developed with technical support of NDMA, IIT Mumbai and Madras. He said that earthquake triggers many secondary disasters like landslide, buildings and bridges collapse, fire, dam failure and rock falls etc.
He said that as a run up to this exercise a coordination conference was held on 3rd July under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary B.K. Agarwal. A Table Top exercise was held on 10th July in which around 460 officers of State, District, Army, Air force, NDRF, ITBP, BRO, CISF and SSB participated. Today, Mock Exercise was trigged at 8.30 AM and the State and District Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) were immediately activated and members of Incident Response Teams (IRT) reached the respective EOCs.
Onkar Sharma said that district wise scenarios were given from SDMA and 112 incident sites were given to districts and more than 2650 officers, officials along with 833 volunteers from 32 NGOs participated. He said that 836 wireless sets and 62 I-SAT phones were used today during the exercise as it was assumed that the landline and mobile phones were disrupted due to earthquake. He said that various activities like-search and rescue, transportation of victims, evacuation, arrangements for relief camps, regulation of traffic, Law and Order, situation reports to SEOC in the shape of mock messages, projection of assistance needed from state headquarter, Activation of airports and selected helibases, action of damage and loss assessment procedure were conducted.
He said that aim and objective of this Mega Mock Exercise was to review efficiency of Response Plan of Disaster Management Plans of the State, districts and Departmental DM Plans, to evaluate the Emergency Response Plan and standard operating procedures of districts and to highlight the role and responsibilities of various stakeholders, to enhance coordination among various stakeholders, generating public awareness and identifying the gaps.
Senior Consultant NDMA Major General (Retd.) V.K. Naik, who was deputed for this Mock exercise helped in checking response and coordination of various agencies, testing functioning of SEOC and DEOCs and compatibility of communication networks used by the Police, Army and Central Para Military Forces. He said that Mock drill was run as per incident Response System (IRS) developed by NDMA and it would further be improved.
Director cum Special Secretary D.C. Rana said that learning from past events and today exercise would be implemented. He said that SDMA has provided funds for purchase of specialized equipments and machinery for DM in the State. He said that Rs. 8.16 crore provided to HPPWD, Rs. 4.28 crore to Police for dedicated Police disaster response communication plan, Rs. 14 crore to Home Guard department. He said that total Rs, 26.78 crore were spent on it.
He said that to strengthen communication system in the State SDMA and Police have purchased 62 I-SAT Phones and 8 more I-SAT phones would be provided to Lahaul-Spiti district soon. Besides, 75 V-SAT Phones have also been sanctioned for Police department. He said that helicopter was ready to fly during this exercise but could not operate due to bad weather.
IG Police training Himanshu Mishr informed that Police provided 3 mobile communication vans at Dharamshala, Mandi and Shimla in which satellite phone and wireless commutation and VHF were available along with operator. In addition to it wireless sets and I-SATs were also used.
Later, debriefing was also done in which Onkar Sharma, VK Naik, Army and Paramilitary forces officers interacted with all the Deputy Commissioners through video conference. Onkar Sharma Said that today mega mock drill was quite satisfactory as compare to the last drill held in February, 2018. He said that it has helped in identifying strengths and gaps. He asked the DCs to upgrade and revise Districts Disaster Management Plans as per current situation. He said that funds would be provided to conduct mock drills at district and sub-division level. He said that more Satellite phones would be added and EOCs will be further strengthened and training would be provided to masons and volunteers.
Army has provided 11 columns and 7 observers in Shimla districts from Jatog Infantry battalion. Representatives of BRO and Air force were also co-opted in the exercise and Army Medical Officers were also deputed to check hospital preparedness.
ITBP has provided two columns at Shimla and one company each at Kullu and Recongpeo besides one platoon at Kaza apart from observers.