In an effort to assess the preparedness in the wake of such a deadly natural calamity, a mock tsunami is set to unfold for a drill. The huge tsunami waves will strike following a 9.2 magnitude earthquake and will cross the north-west coast of Sumatra between 6.30 am and 5.30 pm IST on Wednesday (Oct 12). The killer waves will then move on to the Indian Ocean striking last at the coast of South Africa.
This mock drill titled "Exercise IOWAVE 11" aims to recreate the shock and horror ensuing the calamity with the authorities trying to assess their response in the face of such a catastrophe.
A press release from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (Incois) stated, "India, along with 20 Indian Ocean nations, is participating in a major Indian ocean-wide mock tsunami drill on October 12, 2011 aimed at testing the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS). The drill aims to evaluate the system's operational capacity, the efficiency of communications among the different concerned actors, and the state of preparation of national emergency services."
The simulated waves are most likely to cross the Indian Ocean in 12 hours to strike the culminating point of the coast of South Africa. The test will also include evacuation of those residing near the coastal areas in several countries including India and Malaysia.
The full-blown drill on Oct 12 will see the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) generating and issuing as many as 15 tsunami bulletins to both its national and regional (IOTWS) contacts through internet, SMS, GTS, email, and fax.
The Indian arm of the drill will see the participation of NDMA, MHA, Disaster Management Offices of all coastal states/UTs, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy and critical coastal installations (ports, power plants, SHAR, etc).
The drill is being carried out under the auspices of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, which will also see responsibility for Indian Ocean tsunami advisories handed over to the Regional Tsunami Advisory Service Providers (RTSPs) of the region (India, Australia and Indonesia). At the national level, this drill is being coordinated by Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Incois stated that as part of the drill, the coastal communities in villages like Puducherry, Maharashtra and a few other states or Union Territories will be evacuated. The ITEWC at Incois, Hyderabad is one of the RTSPs in India. The Incois press release added, "Starting from October 12, 2011, ITEWC along with other RTSPs (Australia & Indonesia), will take over the responsibility of providing tsunami bulletins to Indian Ocean member countries. Currently these bulletins are being provided by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and will continue till the end of 2012, at which time the evaluation of the new regional advisory service will be carried out."
The "transition of responsibility" for the tsunami warning system will be communicated by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova through a video address to the authorities of Australia, India and Indonesia at 12 noon.