Emergency Exercises for Earthquake-prone Northern Chile
More than 266,000 people participated in an emergency drill in northern Chile, which is often hit by earthquakes.
Yesterday, the Chile’s national emergency office, ONEMI, conducted an emergency drill in the regions of Arica-Parinacota, Tarapaca, Antofagasta and Atacama.
This drill emulated an earthquake of magnitude 9.2 on the Richter scale and with greater intensity of grade X on Mercalli Scale, which was accompanied by a subsequent hypothetical tsunami.
The activity involved more than 266,000 people who reside near the coast of the first four regions of Chile. They followed instructions and evacuated to security areas.
ONEMI Director Ricardo Toro said: “With this initiative, we seek to strengthen the culture of prevention among the citizens, as we live in a country of high seismic activity. This exercise integrated families, schools and public services, as it is important to know how to react if an emergency occurs. The only way to do it the safest way possible is performing these drills, which define the escape routes and the measures that we need to take.”
He also pointed out that “this drill is evidence of improvement in ONEMI management, which now allows us to emulate a real emergency. Our goal is to do these kinds of exercises all over the country. ONEMI has a great responsibility, but we also need the citizens’ collaboration.”
Despite the success and massive participation in this activity, Tocopilla was excluded from the drill due to “technical and security reasons”, as reported by the governor of the region, Giovanna Rossi. Due to this decision, Tocopilla citizens protested on Thursday, showing their discontent by covering all the monuments of the city with black fabric.