Tuesday, 24 October 2023, 13:34
Some 400 emergency personnel were deployed along the Costa del Sol on Monday to help rescue people trapped beneath rubble, after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck Marbella. But there was no need to worry it was all part of a large-scale training exercise to test the response and coordination of the teams as the Junta carried out its largest disaster drill this year.
Marbella was chosen as the epicentre of the Response 23 training exercise, which simulated a major earthquake with damage to homes and buildings, and hundreds of trapped and injured people.
The Advanced Command Post (PMA) located in Finca La Trinidad (next to La Cañada shopping centre) was at the centre of the action, which kicked off at 11.45am. An SMS alert was sent out to all the mobile phones in the area to alert the public via the EsAlert system, which allows mass text messages to be sent to the public in the event of a major emergency.
Once the exercise started, the search and rescue of the missing people got under way, as well as the triage and treatment of the injured, including social and psychological care for victims.
"Regular testing of the emergency plans is a priority because they are the best instrument we have to save lives," said the Junta's minister of the presidency Antonio Sanz, who visited the command post together with the Marbella mayor Ángeles Muñoz and the Junta's delegate in Malaga Patricia Navarro.
The Vargas Llosa infant and primary school in Marbella was evacuated, with the participation of some 30 people from the Pérez de Guzmán secondary school in Ronda where a guide on how to act in the event of earthquakes, drawn up by 112 Andalucá, was presented. The Marbella mayor pointed out that there have been three earthquakes in the town since 2005" but not of too great an intensity".
There was also a second disaster simulation scenario in Malaga province, on Playa del Cristo in Estepona, where emergency services tackled the effects of an oil spill from the Bay of Algeciras.
In addition to Marbella and Estepona, another disaster simulation scenario was carried out in Cadiz province on Monday where at 9.30am a fire broke out in a Cepsa refinery tank which led to the preventive evacuation of the Carteia-Guadarranque and the Puente Mayorga areas.
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