A Cyclone Disaster mock drill was conducted today at Colva Beach, Colva Salcete by District Disaster Management Authority, South Goa with the involvement of various line Departments to check the preparedness of the Crisis Group in meeting an eventuality of Cyclone and to put in place SoPs in handling such situations apart from creating awareness among the people of the locality.
The actual mock drill exercise had started on March 1, 2023 after the Indian Meteorological Department, Metrological Centre, Goa issued special bulletin at 8.30 a.m. saying that a well marked low pressure area over Lakshadweep area and adjoining South East Arabian Sea moved east northeastwards concentrated into a depression and lay centered. Also, it was said that it is very likely to intensify into a deep depression during the next 12 hours and into a cyclonic storm during subsequent 12 hours. After that IMD issued various special bulletins and administration was activated. Cyclone warning for Goa (Orange message) said that a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm over east-central Arabian Sea moved nearly northwards with a speed of about 11 kmph during past 06 hours and lay centered at 0830 hours IST of today, the 3rd March 2023 over east-central Arabian Sea near latitude 14.3°N and longitude 72.1°E, about 220 km southwest of Panjim-Goa, 380 km south of Mumbai, 620 km south-southeast of Veraval (Gujarat). It is very likely to intensify further during the next 24 hours. It is very likely to move north eastwards and reach Goa coast in the morning hours of 3rd March & cross Goa coast between Arambol and Betul on 3rd March between 1000 IST and 1300Hrs IST.*
Accordingly, directions were issued to various line Departments to be ready. This Mock exercise was aimed to enhance the level of disaster preparedness with respect to cyclones and identify the gaps. There were various scenarios exercised – Evacuation of the vulnerable population at the Colva Beach followed by Search and Rescue & Relief Operations. A specialized rescue operation was carried out by the NDRF through Heli rescue. The rescued and injured victims were rushed to the District Hospital with ESI Hospital as the alternative health facility in case of a surge. Acacia Palms, Colva, was used for building damage/collapse Scenario. There was also a scenario of gas leakage at Manura Petroleum Petrol Pump and CNG Station. The venue of the staging area was the open ground next to PJNS – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda. Indoor Badminton Stadium opposite the swimming complex Fatorda was the Relief Camp area.
With an eye on the forthcoming G20 Presidencies scheduled in the State of Goa, this exercise set the stage for safety and security management for the entire State and also augured well for preparedness and capacity building for the monsoon season.
Mock exercises on various types of natural and anthropogenic hazards help in inculcating a culture of preparedness and generate awareness. This Mock exercise helped the District Administration to assess the preparedness, review the District Disaster Management Plans, Standard Operating Procedures and to evaluate the readiness of various departments in times of any disaster or emergency. This also gave the opportunity to coordinate the activities of various agencies for their optimum utilization and to use the feedback to identify the gaps and improve the capacities of the system to face actual disaster situations.
The objective of this mock exercise was to review the District Disaster Management Plan. The other objectives were to evaluate the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which is also available on SDMA website, Assess the Response mechanism in the district through an Incident Response System, Enhance coordination among the emergency support functioning agencies, Awareness creation among the officials, public and Central forces such as the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and National Disaster Response Force.
The exercise started at 09:20 hrs with the sounding of siren and awareness by Police and Fire and Emergency Services about the cyclone and lasted for 3 hrs till 12:30 hrs.
Additional Collector-II, Shri Dipak Dessai was the Incident Commander while Deputy Collector (Land Acquisition), Shri Raghuraj Faldessai was the Deputy Incident Commander. Shri Ramesh Gaonkar, Shri Shubham Naik and Shri Uday Prabhudessai were chiefs of the operation section, planning section and logistics section respectively. Consultant, National Disaster Management Authority, Brigadiar B S Thakkar took stock of the entire mock exercise.
All the line Departments including National Disaster Response Force, Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Drishti Lifesaving, Electricity, Health Services, Civil Defence, Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy, Indian Oil Gas Limited, trained community volunteers Aapda Mitras and Sakhis, Information and Publicity participated in the Mock Drill.