Meghalaya prepares for earthquakes, conducts state level mock drill

Shillong: The Meghalaya State Disaster Management Authority (MSDMA) on Thursday conducted a state level mock exercise simulating an earthquake, in all the districts of Meghalaya.

The mock exercise simulated the 1897 earthquake and was participated in by district officials, Armed Forces, Paramilitary forces, NDRF, SDRF, police, Fire and Emergency Services, hospitals, schools, colleges, NGOs, community members, and volunteers from various organisations like Bharat Scouts and Guides, Indian Red Cross Society, NSS, Aapda Mitra Volunteers, and various other agencies.

In the East Khasi Hills District, the mock drill took place at identified locations, including Polo, the road from Polo towards Wahingdoh, Polo Super Market, shops in and around the Polo area, Hotel Polo Towers, SBI building, Polo and MeECL, Lumjingshai, Samkhamti Petrol Pump, Urkaliar, Female Health Worker, School of Nursing, School of Nursing TTC, Ganesh Das Government Hospital, Lawmali, St. Xavier’s School, Polo Pynthorumkhrah Golflink Secondary School, and Shillong Secondary School. The Incident Command Post, Medical Camp, Staging area, Relief Camp, and Base Camp were set up in the SRGT Parking lot and the open space in front of the 3rd Ground Polo.

Members of the National Disaster Management Authority oversaw the mock exercise conducted by state and district-level officials and other agencies. Following its completion, a debriefing session was held at the State Convention Centre, attended by Chief Secretary D.P. Wahlang as the chief guest.

In his address, Wahlang congratulated all the stakeholders for the successful execution of the mock exercise. He mentioned that it had been 9 years since the last large-scale mock exercise was conducted. Wahlang urged the Meghalaya State Disaster Management Authority (MSDMA) to schedule such exercises at regular intervals, with a particular emphasis on localised drills that involve schools and colleges to ensure full readiness for potential disasters.

Wahlang also emphasised the importance of being prepared in light of the frequent disasters occurring worldwide, resulting in significant loss of life. He encouraged all stakeholders to make the best use of the knowledge gained from the mock exercise should a disaster occur.

The chief secretary emphasised the need to improve communication services at the Disaster Management Authority to overcome existing limitations and enhance overall effectiveness.

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During the debriefing session, Deputy Commissioners and District observers of the mock exercise shared their observations, views, opinions, and suggestions.

The debriefing session also had the participation of Sanjay Goyal, Commissioner & Secretary of the Revenue & Disaster Management Department, Maj. Gen Sudhir Bahl (Retd.), Senior Consultant (ME & IRS) at NDMA, I.W. Ingty, and M. War Nongbri, Secretaries from the Revenue & Disaster Management Department, among others.

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