KARNATAKA

NDMC mock drill puts Mangalore on alert

SIMULATION: A person ‘affected’ by a leak of ammonia at the Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers plant being carried away by fully equipped masked men for administration of first aid during the mock chemical disaster drill conducted by Nat ional Disaster Management Authority, New Delhi, on Wednesday.

SIMULATION: A person ‘affected’ by a leak of ammonia at the Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers plant being carried away by fully equipped masked men for administration of first aid during the mock chemical disaster drill conducted by Nat ional Disaster Management Authority, New Delhi, on Wednesday.  

Special Correspondent

MANGALORE: National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chose Mangalore for its third chemical disaster mock drill in the country on Wednesday.

The theme was carefully woven around a simulated ammonia leak from one of the tanks of the Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers (MCF) at Baikampady. In the scene, the leak engulfed the nearby villages of Thokur and Kenjar situated approximately 3.5 km from the source. Wailing sirens of ambulances and fire brigade, police and other emergency vehicles filled the air in the city and the two villages. Another set of vehicles equipped with public address systems were sent out to the affected areas asking people to stay indoors and cover their faces with wet cloths. They were also asked to co-operate with the rescue workers who would shift them to hospitals and safer places.

National Highway 17 was cordoned off for traffic as the theatre of action shifted to New Mangalore Port, just opposite to MCF. Officials including the Deputy Commissioner, Senior Superintendent of Police, Chief Fire Officer and chemical experts rushed to a spot where the truck had hit a pipeline and where poisonous gas was leaking. Firemen and rescue workers carried “injured workers” to ambulances and other waiting vehicles to evacuate them to the hospitals. The major task at MCF was to plug the leak, which was entrusted to a team of experts all clad in protective gears and face masks.

In Kenjar and Thokur villages, the simulated scene was different. Ambulances and fire vehicles filled with medical and rescue workers visited six different places where people were reported “sick” due to the inhalation of ammonia. As many as 120 people were evacuated in these two villages and five were reported “dead” and 15 “critically ill”.

Near perfection

The scene was simulated to near perfection by the district disaster management committee under the watchful eyes of the top specialists from NDMA. When the “disaster” had passed by 1.30 p.m., NDMA specialist B.K. Khanna had nothing but praise for the high level of awareness and the preparedness of the district for handling chemical disaster.

He told presspersons that NDMA, which was created by an act of Parliament and had the Prime Minister as its chairman, was responsible for making “vulnerable sites” fully prepared for facing disasters. A series of such mock drills had been held all over the country. NDMA would conduct a mock fire disaster drill in Bangalore in August or September, he added.

As many as 500 personnel from different departments, including rescue workers and those from the Police Department, Fire Brigade, paramilitary forces and other departments, took part in the mock drill.



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