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Earthquake Drill Set for Central Phuket

Earthquake Drill Set for Central Phuket

Saturday, May 19, 2012
PHUKET: A reminder that Phuket sits in a tsunami and earthquake region will come next Wednesday when an earthquake drill is held in central Phuket.

Officials from Phuket's Thalang district met yesterday with Phuket Public Health Office leaders at the office's headquarters in Phuket City to plan the event, to run from 2pm to 4.30pm.

The people of Srisoonthorn, where the epicentre for the magnitude 4.3 earthquake on April 16 was centred deep below Moo 2, will have a chance to learn about the appropriate reaction to another shake.

It was the first time in living memory that an earthquake had struck on Phuket, and it arrived with a loud noise like a thunderclap that was heard all over the island.

Although nobody was hurt and damage to buildings was superficial, the prospect of more shakes on Phuket alarmed residents and even triggered rumors that Phuket was going to sink into the sea.

Experts have since reassured Phuket's populace that the island is not going to vanish in a hurry. Next week's drill and information exercise is designed to replace fears with an active plan of response.

Many parts of the world - including other holiday destinations - function normally even with regular low-level earthquake tremors.

Phuket's shake was followed by a series of aftershocks around magnitude 2.0, not powerful enough to cause concern.

Five days before the Phuket earthquake, Phuket had been subjected to a tsunami alert when an undersea earthquake off Indonesia triggering an evacuation of the west coast holiday destinations where a first big wave struck in 2004.

The April 16 earthquake was such a surprise that it also triggered an instant evacuation before authorities could reassure Phuket's residents and visitors that there was no need.

Since then, authorities have begun correcting the flaws in Phuket's preparedness system. The drill next Wednesday will specifically target Srisoonthorn residents with the aim of equipping them with knowledge about what to do in another earthquake.

The drill and information sessions will also tell them how to care for the children and the elderly as well as themselves in an emergency.

Leading yesterday's planning session were Dr Sak Tenchaikul, Director of the Phuket Provincial Health Office, Apichai Mohamoch, Director of Thalang District Phuket Health Office, and Avion Keawbumroong, Director of Thalang Hospital.

Comments

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Just wondering what will be taught. Health officers leading the planning . . . I can't imagine, having lived in Southern California for my first 50 years, what these guys actually know about earthquake preparedness. Hopefully building code officials will somehow be involved in some of this . . .

Posted by cindy on May 19, 2012 11:44

Editor Comment:

Hello Cindy, the building code has never been a problem on Phuket. In some cases - including at Jungceylon - deeper foundations have been requested because the authorities have long known about the potential for earthquakes. Earthquake ''experience'' is experience nobody is competing to have.

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That is great that the government is taking positive steps. However, if would also be great if there were regular tsunami drills.

Posted by Paoa on May 19, 2012 13:21


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