April 5, 2019
Seventy two of the hundred wards in Coimbatore are prone to earthquake and of this 35 are high risk wards, said Rajan Baalu, Deputy Commandant, National Disaster Response Force, Ministry of Home Affairs, at a mock drill organised at TNAU.
Of the 72 wards, 35 wards come under the high risk category and 35 under the moderate risk. Selvapuram, PN Pudur, VOC Nagar, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University , Selvapuram South, Ukkadam, Town Hall and Saibaba Colony are the main areas under high risk. Coimbatore comes under the the seismic zone – III and is vulnerable as the district had witnessed a massive earthquake in 1900 , in Palakkad, which then came under the then Coimbatore district, reportedly claiming about 10,000 lives. The impact and aftershocks of the earthquake was felt at about 25,000 km², from Chennai to Tirunelveli.
The mock drill that was organised at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University witnessed the participation of the RAF, Coimbatore District Home Guards, Forest Department, Fire Service, Tamil Nadu Special Police Force, Red Cross and the students of Tamil Nadu agricultural University. The officials of the NDRF give a briefing to the students on what they need to do at the event of an earthquake.
According to the Senior Commandant of NDRF, Rekha Nambiar, the NDRF is equipped in handling both natural and man- made disasters. Coimbatore is both earthquake and flood prone. As the recent Chennai floods has given people an experience of sorts, we decided to conduct a mock drill for earthquake rescue and evacuation at the TNAU where there Is a concentration of students under one roof. The basic dos and donts to survive and the basic medical response required to save others were tutored.
The Vice Chancellor of TNAU, Dr N Kumar said that the NDRF had approached the varsity and comprehending the seriousness, the University decide to engage the students and other stake holders to organise the demo that will help save others and also escape in case of an earthquake.
Balaji Raju, Area Commander of Coimbatore District Home Guards said that it was very important for Home Guards to be engaged in such activities so that their services can be utilised even before the NDRF teams rush to the spot at the event of anything untoward. He also said that with the approval of the Superintendent of Police, the Home Guards will be trained by the NDRF to handle such disasters. The Home Guards will also get trained by the Forest department to manage Forest fire that is now becoming a common occurrence