Sheikh Imran Bashir
Agence India Press
New Delhi: Delhi rehearsed one of the biggest coordinated mock-drills on Wednesday in order to check the preparedness of various agencies in the event of a big earthquake by creating simulated situations across the city involving schools, colleges, metro network, malls, markets, hospitals and road transport. At 11.30 am, the national capital assumed that for 48 seconds, an earthquake of 7.8 magnitudes had rocked the city.
Delhi is among 30 cities in India that fall into a high-risk seismic zone.
Officials say this drill is the first of its kind in India.
A number of metro stations were be closed for up to half-an-hour and road traffic was converted in many areas of Central, South and North Delhi as part of the exercise. Commuters in metro, bus transport as well as motorists faced inconvenience because of the mega mockdrill which was held between 11:30 am and 2 pm.
Revenue department officials said the drill will be first of its kind in the entire country during which “we will create a number of simulated situations like collapse of flyovers, crack in metro pillars, damage to hospitals and collapse of residential buildings due to an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale”.
Delhi Disaster Management Authority officials said Khan Market, Chattarpur, Inderlok and Kakardooma Metro stations were closed for up to half-an-hour during the mockdrill while traffic was diverted in many places across the city.
R.K. Dheer, an official at the National Disaster Management Authority told Agence India Press that, “We want to find out how capable we are to deal with natural and man-made disasters.’Be prepared’ is the slogan for today,”
At least 40,000 volunteers are involved in “rescue operations” at colleges, malls, and metro stations. At Loknayak Bhawan near Khan Market, offices were evacuated. Part of today’s mission is to educate residents on what they should do in an emergency. Government officials said they will test the response of concerned officials and residents to “a number of simulated situations like collapse of flyovers, crack in metro pillars, and damage to hospitals.”
Many residents received an SMS this morning about mockdrill.
Most people were caught completely unaware; many were bemused, others began giggling in amusement at the site of policemen racing down the stairs.
But that soon changed as the police and civil defence volunteers dressed in bright yellow jackets began herding people out of the station.
The authorities own estimates say nine out of every 10 buildings in the city are at risk of moderate or significant quake damage. Every year, tens of thousands of housing units are built without any earthquake safety checks. (AIP News)
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