Phuket prepares for tsunami drill

PHUKET: At 9:45 am on July 7, all 79 tsunami warning towers operated by the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) will sound their alarms as part of a comprehensive tsunami warning test for the six Andaman provinces.

Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Ministry Suwit Kunkitti announced the drill on nationwide television at 3 pm yesterday.

Co-ordinating the drill from a command center at Saphan Hin in Phuket City will be Governor Niran Kalayanamit and Chainarong Kerdsom, chief of the Phuket office of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

The drill is scheduled to start at 9:30 am and finish at 11:30 am.

In addition to conducting a tsunami evacuation drill at Saphan Hin, the command center will also act as the communications center for co-ordinating the siren tests throughout Phang Nga, Krabi, Ranong, Trang, Satun as well as Phuket..

Residents from Rassada and Wichit and students from Phuket Technical College, Phuket Vocational College and Phuket Polytechnic College will join the evacuation drill at Saphan Hin, K. Chainarong said.

Preparations for the drill will begin at about 8 am, he added.

“The Phuket Provincial Office recommended that the command center be set up at Patong, Kata or Karon, but the NDWC decided on Saphan Hin,” explained Governor Niran.

K. Chainarong said the choice of location was not that important because all low-lying coastal areas are at risk and need advance warning.

All tambon administration organizations (OrBorTor) and local municipalities have been asked to co-ordinate evacuation drills in their respective areas, he added.

Gov Niran expressed concern that not enough people will be aware that the exercise will be only a drill. “I worry that tourists and other people around the 19 tsunami warning towers will not know that it is only an exercise,” he said

To help inform the public, the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department has posted billboards announcing the drill at the main intersection leading to Phuket International Airport and on Patong Hill.

In addition, about 50 flags intended to warn people of the drill have been posted along popular beaches around the island.

The drill will be televised live on NBT.

Phuket News

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