State Level Mock Exercise on Cyclones Held

Panaji: March 5, 2023

Goa State Disaster Management Authority in collaboration with National Disaster Management Authority conducted a State Level Mock Exercise on Cyclones in both North and South Districts recently with Meteorological Centre, Goa, issuing regular bulletins on presence of a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm over East Central Arabian Sea with possibility of landfall.

The Mock Exercise was conducted for the first time in the State of Goa at such a larger scale involving all the line departments at State and District level to oversee the preparedness for Cyclones. Prior to this Exercise, a Table Top Exercise was also conducted to set the stage for successful conduct of the ME by exercising and rehearsing key disaster managers in their roles and responsibilities with respect to emerging emergency situations through simulated scenarios particularly those to be played in the impending ME, discern gaps prior to the ME and evolve viable action plans.
For conduct of the State Level Mock Exercise on Cyclones, 02 sites were chosen including Aivao Village in North and Colva village in South Goa. The 05 Scenarios painted during the exercise included: prophylactic evacuation of a village/locality, Search and Rescue Operation, Specialized Rescue, Hospital Preparedness and Industrial Damage.

The Mock Exercise commenced at 09:00 a.m. with a review via VC mode by Brig. Thakar, Consultant, National Disaster Management Authority from State Emergency Operation Centre, Secretariat, Porvorim, to take briefing from both the Collectors of North and South Goa. Shri. Sandip Jacques, IAS, Secretary Revenue along with all Sr. SDMA officials including HODs of the Line Departments were also present in the SEOC. After the review, at 09:20 a.m. Sirens from the Early Warning Dissemination System Towers were blown by Water Resource Department to announce the Landfall of Cyclones.

A total of 91 people were evacuated from various areas in the Aivao and Colva village by the local responders via alternative routes, followed by Search and Rescue Operation of the stranded people of the affected areas by the National Disaster Response Force, Aapda Mitras, Drishti Life Guards with additional support of representatives of DDMAs. During the SAR Operation, onsite Triage and First Aid was done by Medical Teams (Doctors, Paramedics) from Manipal Hospitals in the North Goa and District Hospital in the South Goa followed by transportation of the severely injured to the Relief Camps via ambulances and deceased via hearse vans. A Joint Specialized Rescue Operation was conducted by NDRF via Rope Rescue and Navy and Coast Guard via Airlifting by Helicopters from the high rise building in both districts wherein 04 persons were safely rescued. During the Special Rescue Operation, NDRF utilized the services of Sniffer Dog Squad for searching the affected victims. For Hospital Scenario, Manipal Hospitals as the collaborative partners in this State Level Mock Exercise supported with best arrangement for treating the injured persons by having the required number of beds, Doctors, Paramedics and Ambulance services and preparation in case of surge.

The District Hospital, South Goa equally did a commendable job for setting the standard upto the mark to meet the surge capacity vis a vis accommodating all the victims referred from the disaster site and Relief Camps. For Industrial Damage Scenario, Zuari Chemical Industries in South Goa had a gas leakage scenario wherein 25 persons were safely rescued and the situation was stabilized by in-house Fire Services of the Industrial Unit, while in North Goa, almost 60 people were rescued safely from the Entertainment Industry among which 02 persons who were drowning were rescued by Coastal Police Gemini Port and 05 injured were shifted to nearest Relief Camp. Additionally, in a drowning incident Scenario, 6 victims in South Goa were rescued by NDRF.

For monitoring the best practices and lessons learnt from the Mock exercise, the Government had nominated (10+02) Observers from NDRF, CISF, CRPF, Coast Guard, Army, Navy and Goa Police for all the 05 Scenarios with 05 observers per site along with a Lead Observer in both districts.

Brig. Thakar, Consultant National Disaster Management Authority, visited all the sites in both North and South Goa Districts to record the proceedings of the Mock Exercise including best practices and grey areas for improvement.

As per the instructions of National Disaster Management Authority, Goa SDMA issued a Test SMS Alert from Integrated CAP platform to all citizens of Goa containing a link to acknowledge receipt of the test Alert. The said Alert was sent to more than 15 Lakh subscribers from various TSPs including BSNL, VI, Airtel and Reliance Jio. Goa SDMA shall make use of the CAP Platform for sending these alerts received from the Alert Generating Agencies (CWC, IMD, INCOIS etc.) to disseminate the same well in advance to the citizens of Goa.

After the mock exercise, a debriefing session was conducted by Brig. Thakar at SEOC, Secretariat, Porvorim, via VC Mode along with all the Line Departments including the 02 Lead Observers. During the session, both Collectors were asked about the conduct of Mock Exercise as per the painted Scenarios. The Collectors commented that the exercise was conducted smoothly and there was no report of any injury during all the phases of the event. The Lead Observers including Shri. Santosh Bhadur Singh, Commandant NDRF and Shri. Braz Menezes, Goa Police praised the preparations done by Goa SDMA and DDMAs for smooth conduct of the Mock Exercise along with value additions for scope of improvement. Brig.

Thakar complimented Goa SDMA, DDMA North & South and all the Line Departments for the excellent performance despite conducting such Exercise at a large scale at the very first time. Brig. Thakar was confident about the areas that the State can improve upon for enhancing the level of Disaster preparedness for all the disasters that the State has notified. Smt. Sapna S.N. Bandodkar, Under Secretary Revenue-II, Government of Goa, acknowledged that State is progressing in building the capacity. Shri. Surendra Naik, Joint Secretary Revenue, Government of Goa in his concluding remarks congratulated all the line departments and both DDMAs and said that Government of Goa is committed to have the best possible Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies in place for a Disaster Resilient Goa.

Issued by the Department of Information & Publicity

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