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Phuket to host joint full-scale tsunami drill



PHUKET: Rescue services from three provinces will join Phuket emergency first-responders for three days of intensive training and to conduct a full-scale tsunami response drill on May 29.

The fellow rescue teams to join the exercise will be from the Andaman provinces of Krabi, Phang Nga and Trang.

The rescue crews will explore response plans on May 27-28 and stage a full-scale tsunami evacuation drill on May 29, starting at 8:30am, Phuket Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada said.

“The exercise will simulate a large earthquake striking off the coast of Sumatra, off western Indonesia,” he explained, adding that the situation will be held in the Chong Pak Pra channel, the narrow strip of water at the north end of Phuket separating Phuket from the mainland (map here).

It was an underwater earthquake measuring more than 9.1 Richters at the same location that triggered the Indian Ocean Tsunami on December 26, 2004.

The disaster killed more than 220,000 people, including more than 5,400 along Thailand’s Andaman Coast.

The rescue teams will also draw up and rehearse evacuation drills simulating an earthquake directly affecting Phuket.

V/Gov Chamroen pointed out that the 4.3 Richter earthquake that rattled the central Phuket area of Srisoonthorn on April 16 last year (story here), highlighted Phuket’s vulnerability to earthquakes.

“The most recent earthquakes along our West Coast have happened along the Klong Marui fault off Phuket, and last year was the first time the coast was the epicenter of an earthquake,” he said.

“The officers will benefit from the training by improving their communication and emergency-response skills. The exercise will make Phuket safer and reduce anxiety over what would happen if we were struck by such disasters,” he added.

— Kritsada Meuanhawong


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