Tsunami drill begins in 24 Indian Ocean nations

Hyderabad: A major Indian Ocean-wide Tsunami mock drill involving India and 23 other Indian Ocean countries began on Wednesday to test warning and detection systems.

A tsunami warning was simulated with an earthquake of magnitude 9.2 south of Sumatra, Indonesia in the eastern Indian Ocean at 8.30 a.m.

The exercise involves evacuation of around 35,000 people from the coastal regions of India. The evacuation is being taken up in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Gujarat and Goa.

Authorities in Andhra Pradesh have selected a village each in nine coastal districts for evacuation as part of the exercise to check the preparedness.

The end-to-end warning systems- from tsunami detection and forecast, threat evaluation and alert formulation, dissemination to public and their awareness and responses- would be put to test during the mock drill, officials said.

Named ‘IOWave16’, the two-day mock drill is being organised by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UNESCO, which coordinated the setting up of Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS) in the aftermath of the December 26, 2004 tsunami.