A rehearsal of a response to an earthquake involving more than 2,000 people took place on Wednesday in the central province of Quang Nam, where many quakes have occured in the recent past. The drill was conducted based on a scenario in which a 6.2 degree magnitude quake occurred at 6:30 am in Bac Tra My District, with its epicenter located in the reservoir area of the Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant. The hypothetical disaster killed 50 people and injured 120 others in many areas. There were also 30 people reported missing. Meanwhile, numerous houses collapsed, and many roads and bridges were destroyed or damaged. Many uprooted trees and fallen electric poles blocked traffic, while were people buried under debris and were crying for help. In responding to such a scenario, local police, soldiers, rescuers and health workers were mobilized to areas impacted by the disaster, while two helicopters were sent from Da Nang City to Bac Tra My. Numerous digging machines, excavators, trailers and ambulances were sent to the sites to search for and transport victims to hospitals. A group of police dogs was also used to search for vicitms who were trapped under the ruins. Meanwhile, damaged roads and bridges were repaired by functional units, and traffic police were trying to restore order.
Speaking at the drill, Lieutenant General Tran Quang Khue, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnam People’s Army, said such an exercise isnecessary to improve the readiness of all forces in responding to a quake, which can occur at any time. The drill also helped strengthen coordination between forces in coping with a quake and in searching for and rescuing victims, he said. Bac Tra My has suffered several recent earthquakes, with the latest taking place at 3 am on August 20 near the Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant. The quake was weak and lasted for about 4 seconds. The strongest-ever quake in the district occured on November 15, 2012, measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale. It lasted for several seconds, panicking thousands of locals, who rushed out of their houses.