Mock Exercise on Earthquake Preparedness

As part of the 100 days Action Plan, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in conjunction with the NCT of Delhi, Government of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority, Government of Uttar Pradesh took the initiative to plan the largest Mock Exercise on Earthquake in the National Capital Region (NCR). This exercise covered all 11 districts of NCT of Delhi, four districts of Haryana (Jhajjhar, Faridabad, Gurugram and Sonipat) and three districts (Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad and Meerut). 

The exercise began with sirens indicating the occurrence of tremors. With a massive magnitude 7 quake along the Sohna fault line, there lay damaged residential apartments, shopping malls, school buildings, hospitals and metro stations – Delhi and the National Capital Region had become a rubble with survivors and dead trapped underneath. Once the tremors stopped, all stakeholders assembled at their respective Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs). Once the damage was assessed, rescue teams were formed under Incident Commanders and dispatched to their respective locations. 

Shri Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister of Haryana; Shri Anil Baijal, Lt. Governor of Delhi and Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi were reviewing activities at the EOC and incident sites in Faridabad and Delhi, respectively. Lt. Gen. N. C. Marwah (Retd.), Member, NDMA, was also closely monitoring the exercise from the EOC in Delhi. Rescue drills were conducted in coordination with various agencies, such as the Army, Air Force, Central Armed Police Forces/ Central Police Organisation, National Disaster Response Force, traffic police, fire fighting department, and Civil Defence. Affected people were given preliminary first aid before they were sent to hospitals. 

The exercise tried to create a scenario close to reality so as to assess and improve the preparedness and response mechanism of all stakeholder agencies. in the event of a high-intensity earthquake. "Delhi-NCR falls in the high-risk seismic zone IV and III. There is a  need for regularly conducting mock exercises here as they oil the government machinery, spread awareness among the masses and help contain panic in case a real disaster strikes," said NDMA's Maj. Gen. V.K. Datta (Retd.), who led the exercise. 

During the debriefing carried out after the exercise, all the participants brought out the shortcomings and gaps. Step by step analysis of the exercise is essential to figure out gaps and ways to improve our response. Shri Kejriwal along with Shri Baijal, the Chief Secretary of Delhi and Lt. Gen. Marwah (Retd.) discussed the plans to update the entire structure and resources required for disaster response in the NCT of Delhi. Similar action is being taken by Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. 

The National Disaster Guidelines significantly focuses on Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness for a disaster situation. In its efforts towards improving the management of a disaster situation, NDMA regularly conducts such mock exercises across the country. 

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