Chennai: India along with 23 other countries will participate in a large-scale tsunami simulation exercise organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of Unesco on 7 and 8 September.

The tsunami mock drill, known as the IOWave16, will test the standard operating procedures of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System and is designed to assess the effectiveness of communication flows between operational centres and stakeholders, emergency procedures and country readiness, according to the IOC.

The exercise will include community evacuation drills in at least 10 countries, involving over 50,000 participants, and will comprise two scenarios.

The first drill will simulate an earthquake on 7 September with a magnitude of 9.2 south of Sumatra, Indonesia. The second drill on 8 September will simulate an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 in the Makran Trench south of Iran and Pakistan. While the first drill will involve the east coast, India’s west coast will be part of the second drill.

Operations will begin when the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre, the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre and the Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System issue alert notifications to the 24 countries concerned. Simulating tsunami waves travelling across the Indian Ocean, both exercises will be conducted in real time lasting about 12 hours.

In India, massive community-level evacuations will be carried out in about 350 villages involving some 35,000 participants from coastal communities mostly in Odisha, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Gujarat and Goa.

In Sri Lanka, 14 villages will be evacuated, involving some 7,000 participants. In Oman, eight schools and about 8,000 students will take part in simulated evacuations.

Indian Ocean nations called for the establishment of an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System in the wake of the 2004 tsunami disaster. “The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC), based out of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), which was set up in 2007 in Hyderabad is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Earth Sciences and can detect tsunamigenic earthquakes within 10 minutes of their occurrence and disseminate timely advisories to disaster management officials and the vulnerable communities," a statement released by INCOIS said.

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