INCOIS, Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning Centre conduct mock tsunami drills

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on October 21, 2020

The UNESCO’s International Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System, a regional body to plan and coordinate an effective tsunami warning and mitigation system for the Indian Ocean region, conducted an Indian Ocean-wide mock tsunami drill — IOWave20 on October 6, 13 and 20, executing 3 scenarios to cover the entire Indian Ocean region time frames.

The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) set up post December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is based out of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

The warning centre, operational since 2007, has computational infrastructure that enables reception of real-time data from a range of seismic and sea-level sensors, analysis of the data, tsunami modeling, as well as generation and dissemination of tsunami bulletins following a standard operating procedure.

ITEWC participated in IOWave20 exercise, both in its capacity as a National Tsunami Warning Centre for India as well as a Tsunami Service Provider for the entire Indian Ocean region. During the exercise, ITEWC generated and issued 4 tsunami bulletins/ notifications to both its National & Regional contacts.

The IOWave20 exercise involved enacting three scenarios on (i) October 6 with earthquake magnitude 9.1 in Java Region, Indonesia, (ii) October 13 with earthquake magnitude 9.2 in Andaman Trench of India and (iii) October 20 with earthquake magnitude 9.0 at off-coast of Pakistan.

During these scenarios, ITEWC issued bulletins to both national and regional stakeholders of all 25 Indian Ocean rim countries.

In India, the exercise was focussed mainly on east coast Disaster Management Organizations (DMOs) to identify and fix any gaps in communication channels and their SOPs for an impending tsunami.

The DMOs of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry took active participation in the exercise.

In addition, Indian Navy, Coast Guard, NDRF, Nuclear power plants and Port &Harbors also participated in the in the exercise. IOC-UNESCO recognised two villages (Venkatraipur and Noliasahi) of Odisha as Tsunami Ready on August 7, 2020.

Apart from various designated agencies, Indian Navy, Coast Guard, NDRF, nuclear power plants and various pots and harbors also participated in the in the exercise.

Considering the present Covid-19 pandemic situation, the exercise was limited to test communication channels instead of full-scale exercise which involves public evacuation. Disaster Management Organizations have tested their communication protocols and conducted “virtual” tabletop exercises as a minimum to assess the organizational SOPs, plans and policies for tsunami warning and emergency response. The results of the exercise will be sought through a questionnaire and analysed to rectify any issues identified in communications or standard operating procedures of all concerned agencies.

Published on October 21, 2020

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