Tsunami drill in capital city

Employees of the government ministries including a few UN agencies who participated in the tsunami drill organized by the National Disaster Management Office in Suva yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

THE increase in seismic activity along the Pacific region coupled with major earthquakes and tsunami events devastating Indonesia and Japan validates the need to improve awareness on tsunami and its devastating impacts, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of National Disaster Management and Meteorological Services Meleti Bainimarama said today.

He made the comments before the start of a tsunami drill which included the participation of government and United Nations agencies along Suva.

All workers in these agencies were instructed by the NDMO to assemble at the ground near Victoria Courts on Knollys Street.

Mr Bainimarama said this exercise would help the public to familiarise themselves with the routes and the sound of the tsunami sirens.

“The tsunami drill will also provide the public with the golden opportunity to familiarise themselves with the sound of the tsunami sirens along with the evacuation routes,” he said.

The drill included press alerts and tsunami warnings from the Seismology Section of Mineral Resources Department.

The alerts stated that a 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred within the Tongan region. The message was part of the drill but Fiji Times Online did not realise this and published the statement.  The statement said the tsunami had been generated with waves reaching three meters and above which was later called off.

Editor’s note: Fiji Times Online regrets the error of publishing the tsunami threat, which was part of the tsunami evacuation exercise in the capital city today. Fiji Times Online will always keep you informed during natural disasters.

*Detailed reports and pictures in tomorrow’s The Fiji Times