Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Checking the city administration’s preparedness to handle calamities

Checking the city administration’s preparedness to handle calamities

Staff Reporter

— Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

On the alert: The bomb disposal squad in action during Exercise Unified-2008, a mock drill, at the Malleswaram Grounds in Bangalore on Tuesday.

BANGALORE: Just when an exiting football match was under way at Malleswaram Grounds on Tuesday morning, a series of bombs exploded, engulfing the ground with a thick blanket of smoke leaving at least 100 injured. Chaos and horrifying cries of the injured rented the air soon after.

Within minutes of the blasts, fire engines rushed to the ground, and the bomb and dog squads followed. A fleet of ambulances arrived at the spot in around 20 minutes to ferry the injured to the nearby hospitals. Meanwhile, the bomb squads were quickly ascertaining whether there were any radiological, biological or chemical components in the bomb.

For the record, if you thought Bangalore experienced another round of bombing, it was not so. Codenamed “Exercise Unified-2008,” the blasts that were heard and the smoke that billowed from the ground was all stage managed by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) that was checking the administration’s preparedness to handle a calamity.

The mock drill is second such exercise that has been taken up by NDMA, the first one being a mock fire drill taken up at Koramangala during September 2007. The rescue team categorised the injured into Red — grievously injured who were silently grimacing with pain; Green — injured but who are vocal about their pain and Yellow — who have received minor injuries.

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) J.R. Bharadwaj, Member of NDMA, said that this was the first mass casualty exercise held in Bangalore. “The objective was to prepare the community to handle the disasters and to give confidence to public. It was satisfactory,” he added. He also added that four experts were called on to observe the whole event and they will give their observation according to the proforma.

“Exercise unified 2008” was jointly organised by NDMA, State Disaster Management Authority along with M.S. Ramaiah Medical College and Hospital and other networking hospitals. Students from more than 20 colleges took part in the mock drill.


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