Evacuation drills will
be conducted in all tsunami-risk areas on Phuket island on 30th
June, Phuket Vice Governor Tri Augkaradacha has announced.
The drills will be coordinated
jointly by the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC), the local
office of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM-Phuket)
and local administrative bodies where the exercises will take place.
The areas were listed
as: Phuket City, Patong, Karon, Rawai, Chalong, Rassada, Sakoo,
Mai Khao, Cherng Talay, Wichit, Pa Khlok and Kamala.
The provincial drills
will be followed by a regional drill on July 25 to take place at
24 schools in the six Andaman coast provinces that are located in
tsunami risk zones, V/Gov Tri said.
Patong Deputy Mayor Chairat
Sukkaban welcomed the drills, describing as “very successful”
two mock evacuations held in 2006 at a total cost of 500,000 baht.
The municipality has
budgeted another 500,000 baht for evacuation drills this year, he
Apart from being a tsunami
risk zone, Patong is also at risk of landslides, he said.
The Norwegian government
has been conducting a study to identify risk areas and two seminars
have been held on ways to prevent and mitigate damages from landslides,
DDPM chief Aroon Kerdsom
said tambon administration organizations (OrBorTor) responsible
for risk areas were also well prepared for the drills following
a May 9 meeting to discuss budgeting, scheduling and other related
Both the June 30 and
July 25 drills would begin with the sounding of the tsunami warning
sirens, which will be activated remotely from the NDWC headquarters
in Nonthaburi, he said.
The last scheduled testing
of the sirens on April 7 was scrapped at the last minute by the
NDWC, raising suspicions about whether the system’s satellite
links were functioning properly and prompting one member of the
Democrat party to demand an investigation.
NDWC Director Dr Smith
Dharmasaroja responded by insisting that the towers were functioning
properly and were “silently” tested on a daily basis.
V/Gov Tri said that in
order ensure compliance, all OrBorTor participating in the drill
would be required to submit reports and recorded images of the evacuations
to the DDPM-Phuket within three days.
He said there were four
means by which the public could be warned of an impending disaster:
• The media, including
local and foreign television and radio stations, both public and
• Alerts sent out
by the Amateur Radio Society of Thailand, which has members all
• Instant messages
sent out to all local leaders and other subscribers via mobile phone
• Tsunami warning
towers in high-risk areas. There are currently 79 such towers in
the six Andaman coast provinces and 19 in Phuket. These are capable
of sounding both siren sounds and recorded alerts in five languages:
Thai, Chinese, Japanese, German, and English. The alerts are audible
within 1.5 kilometers of the towers, he said.