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Thousands trial Thai tsunami plan
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  1. #1
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    Thousands trial Thai tsunami plan

    Thousands trial Thai tsunami plan
    Friday, December 16, 2005. 8:40pm (AEDT)
    Tens of thousands of people along Thailand's Andaman coast have staged tsunami warning drills in the first major test of a new alert system as the anniversary of the disaster approaches.

    Everyone at Bang Nieng beach in Phang Nga province appears to have taken part in the drill.

    They have evacuated their homes and beaches for Buddhist temples 500 metres away on higher ground.

    About 4,000 people gathered at the temples, with police and nurses on hand and a helicopter hovering.

    Sirens blared and speakers from new warning towers broadcast messages in five languages, warning people to leave the shore.

    After the warnings, another message said: "Attention please. The situation is back to normal. Please continue rescuing the injured."

    Phang Nga was the Thai province hardest hit by the tsunami.

    Many there say the drill could make the difference between life or death if the tsunamis ever return.

    "I'm very scared. I'm still living near the sea. I decided to participate in the drill to protect myself," Jumnean Sermsup, a 41-year-old housewife, said.

    Red Cross volunteer Yubol Pumsathit had hundreds of orange life jackets ready at the beach.

    Each life jacket had a flashlight, a whistle and a bottle of water attached.

    "People take the drill very seriously. We are scared of another tsunami. This exercise is not for fun," she said.

    Some 50,000 people took part in the drills in six Andaman coastal provinces of Phang Nga, Krabi, Phuket, Satun, Trang and Ranong, according to the National Disaster Warning Centre.

    "We want people to be always aware of tsunamis," the centre's Air Vice Marshal Pakdiwat Vachirapanlop said.

    "The purpose of the drill is to prevent a tsunami-like disaster from happening again."

    Last year governments around the region had no way to warn the public of the approaching tsunamis, leading to the staggering death toll of around 220,000.

    In Thailand alone, nearly 5,400 people were killed on the Andaman coast.

    About half of the victims were foreign holidaymakers.

    - AFP

  2. #2
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    The tsunami emergency exercise is a good way to prepare citizens and tourists alike in the event of an emergency. However, I am worried that a recent spate of false alarms may lead the people to adopt a careless attitude.

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