Earthquake induced disaster mock exercise underway in North district

Mangan, 10 Oct (IPR): A State level mock exercise was held in North district wherein the response of the District Administration to tackle 8.7 Richter Scale earthquake with its epicenter at Shillong was carried out. The mock exercise is being simultaneously carried out in all four districts of the State and 10 districts of West Bengal under the supervision of National Disaster Management Authority.

At the district level the mock exercise was commanded by Additional District Magistrate, Shri Somnath Adhikari. Immediately after the earthquake at 11.15 hrs ,the District Emergency Operation Center at the District Administrative Center was activated. All the heads of departments assembled at the EOC to take stock of the situation. Messages were received through the wireless set about the mock devastation.

The EOC received information that the earthquake has triggered landslides at Rafong Khola and Ambithang and both the roads were blocked due to fallen trees and debris. A second scenario was fire outbreak at Mangan Nagar Panchayat building due to short circuit. It was reported that two out of four people trapped inside were dead and the other two have sustained injuries.

A third report also poured in about the collapse of a four-storeyed building at Mangan Bazaar at 11:38 hrs with five family members trapped in the building. It was also reported that landslides triggered by earthquake severely damaged a house near church road and nine people were injured and trapped inside the debris.

After receiving the messages, the response was planned by the Planning Section headed by ADC Development under the Incident Commander and coordinated by SDM Mangan. The operation for tackling the situation was carried out by Senior SP North. Information and Media was handled by DIO North whereas the finance was under the charge of AO, Land Revenue Department.

A staging area at Mangan public ground was set up under the charge of SDM Kabi. All resources and task force for tackling disasters like fire and rescue team units, ambulances and medical teams, ITBP, District Police force, machinery and JCB teams, power restoration teams, forest, food and civil supplies gathered at Mangan public ground along with their task heads. The teams were briefed about the situation and was accordingly deputed to several locations along with the medical units.

A relief camp and medical post was set up at Mangan Community Hall under the charge of DCSO North, Medical Officer and NYK volunteers. Search and rescue operations were carried out at different locations by ITBP, District Police and Quick Response teams. The nine people who were injured and trapped inside the house at Church road were rescued by ITBP and the North Sikkim Youth Organsiation volunteers. People who were trapped in the Mangan Nagar Panchayat building where reportedly a fire broke out were evacuated by Fire & Emergency Services Department. Search and rescue was carried out in the collapsed building at Mangan Bazaar by ITBP and the trapped people were evacuated. The injured were given first aid on spot by the mobile health staff and were taken to District Hospital for further treatment The forest and police team reached the site at Ambithang and Rafong Khola and cleared the fallen trees and cleared the road for traffic. A mock exercise was also carried out in Mangan Senior Secondary school where the students did the drop cover hold exercise. The NSS volunteers and school faculties ensured safe evacuation of the students.

Elsewhere in the subdivision of Chungthang, a scenario was enacted wherein the road at Theng tunnel was blocked and due to panic, five people jumped in the dam out of which three were injured and two died on the spot due to drowning. The dead bodies were retrieved by search and rescue team of the Indian Army and injured taken to PHC Chungthang.

The mock exercise was conducted to improve the disaster preparedness in the district. A team of observers from the Indian Army was stationed at various locations to monitor the response efforts and to identify the gaps for further improvement. The entire mock exercise was carried using HF and VHF frequencies of the wireless sets. This was done to simulate real life scenarios where all communications are down. The communication with State EOC was also done through wireless mode. After conclusion of the mock exercise, the briefing session was held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary, Shri A.K. Shrivastava, through video conferencing.

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