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Satellite link for drill

Shillong, March 8: Mobile phones will not feature in Monday’s mega mock exercise simulating the Shillong earthquake of 1897 in the state capital and in Tura, West Garo Hills, to test communication viability in case of a disaster.

In 1897, an earthquake measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale had hit this region, causing massive devastation.

Instead of mobile phones, satellite phones will be used and already three lines have been opened.

One of these lines is located in the State Emergency Operation Centre, Shillong.

The chief executive officer of the State Disaster Management Authority, H.B. Marak, said more than 400 people would be involved in the mock drills, both in Shillong and in Tura.

Personnel from the National Disaster Relief Force will be pressed into service while senior officials will gauge the preparedness of the state in managing disasters.

Marak said the North Eastern Space Applications Centre would be engaged in a project to map the vulnerability of the state in case floods and landslides occur.

For mapping the vulnerability to earthquakes, Marak said the North East Institute of Science and Technology would be involved. Both the projects will commence shortly, he added.

In Shillong, the mock exercise will be held from 11.30am onwards in Meghalaya urban development affairs shopping complex at Khyndai Lad, Polo petrol pump, Neepco office, Shillong Public School and Nongrimmaw in Laitumkhrah.

Nazareth Hospital, Civil Hospital and Military Hospital would be the designated hospitals for the treatment of “injured victims”.

However, other hospitals and schools (not examination centres for the ongoing board exams) will conduct the evacuation drill on their own on their premises.

In Tura, the drill will be held in the supermarket area which is one of the two vulnerable spots in the area.

Along with Shillong and Tura, the other places where the mock exercise will take place on Monday include Guwahati, Jorhat, Itanagar, Ziro, Gangtok and Mangan.


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