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A Day that Put Bali to the Test

Earthquake and Tsunami Ravages Bali in a Make-Believe Search and Rescue Preparedness Drill.

(7/22/2011) Imagine the very worst that can happen and then plan accordingly.

That’s exactly what Bali did on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, when a massive search and rescue drill was carried out as part of the International Search and Rescue (SAR) Forum of International Search And Rescue Advisory Group (ISF-INSARAG) for the Asia-Pacific held in Kuta.

The make-believe-and-hope-it-never-happens-scenario was based on the pretext that a 7.5 Richter scale earthquake of 56 seconds duration had struck just 25 kilometers off Bali’s southern shore at a depth of 20 kilometers. As the psuedo-drama unfolded, a 15-meter high tsunami swept across the island’s south washing tens of ships ashore, destroying homes and businesses, and paralyzing life in some of Bali’s most populace tourist areas.

According to Nusa Bali, as part of the preparedness drill The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) responded immediately by coordinating rescue efforts by sea, air and land. Basarnas also mobilized other elements of the local community capable of lending assistance: the armed forces, police, the Office of National Unity and Community Protection (Kesbanglinmas), the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), the Ministry of Social Affairs and local non-governmental agencies.

By sea, Basarnas deployed personnel and equipment to simulate search and evacuation drills, rescuing people floating after being washed into the sea. The search and rescue teams also mobilized tens of rubber boats and sea raiders. Meanwhile, two rescue helicopters lifted corageous “volunteer victims” from the seas using air-hoists and rescue nets.

With time  of the essence, the drill also dispatched teams trained in rescuing victims captured beneath collapsed structures accompanied by trained teams of medical first responders.

The demonstration conducted in the waters off shore from the Patra Jasa Resort, adjacent to Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport, commenced at 10:00 a.m..

The emergency simulation was supervised by the head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, Lt. General Nono Sampono (retired) and representatives of 21 nations attending the international Search and Rescue Forum.