India’s tsunami warning and detection system will be put to the test when it participates in a 23-nation exercise called ‘IOWave16’ on September 7 and 8 and evacuates around 35,000 coastal residents as part of the drill, PTI reported on Friday. The drill is being conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, which helped set up the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System after the December 26, 2004, tsunami.

Among the systems to be tested are the features of tsunami detection and forecast, threat evaluation and alert formulation, dissemination to public and their awareness and response. An official told the agency that the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre, which operates from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, can identify tsunamigenic earthquakes within a time frame of 10 minutes of their inception and warn disaster management officials and people at risk.

The drill will simulate two scenarios. The first will be an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.2 off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, while the second will be simulated in the South of Iran and Pakistan with a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale. The ITEWC will test its dissemination abilities when it sends 15 tsunami bulletins through its global telecommunication system, email and SMS to its national and regional stakeholders.

According to The Times of India, the ITEWC has conducted workshops to train its stakeholders and has issued a manual on the execution of the drill. International observers and media persons from the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction office will be sent to India and Seychelles to document the exercise and prepare a film for the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction to be held on November 2 this year.

Among the Indian Ocean countries participating in the major drill are Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, France (La Reunion), Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman and Pakistan.