The exercise began with a ‘table-top’ exercise in the morning so that emergency responders and disaster officials could co-ordinate their response, explained Kathu District Chief Siwat Rawangkul, who presided over the opening ceremony of the event.
At 1pm, a tsunami warning sounded and the participants made their way from the “100th Anniversary Memorial Public Park”, known to everyone else as Tsunami Memorial Park, at the southern end of the beach to the to the shelter set up at Kamala Subdistrict Administrative Organization (OrBorTor) about 1.4kilometres away.
Many of those who took part, including officials, actually ran the course, leaving many exhausted on arriving at the shelter.
However, the exercise did not account for any people who may be on the northern end of the beach fleeing a tsunami.
The northern end has a wall 440 metres long along the beachfront marking the boundary of the Kamala Muslim Cemetery, forcing people fleeing a tsunami to run along the beach before making any distance away from the danger.
Some of the participants played the role of people injured in the simulated disaster, with emergency responders providing medical attention.
Mr Suwit thanked all agencies and parties involved in taking part, and announced that the goal of the exercise had been achieved.
“This is to build confidence among residents and tourists, for people to feel safe and not panic, and survive if a tsunami strikes again,” he said.
The number of tourists returning to the area had increased to about 60% of pre-COVD levels, Mr Suwit noted.
“Another evacuation drill may be held later at night once more hotels re-open and more tourists are staying in the area,” he added.