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Colombia: First National Evacuation Simulation

On the morning of October 5, 2011, Colombia carried out a national evacuation simulation exercise [es], in which 14 cities participated. The idea was to simulate an emergency (an earthquake) and build awareness of the steps people should assume in the event of an actual emergency.

Those in charge of the event, which was scheduled by the national government to start at 11:00am, turned to the media and a website [es] to invite Colombians to take part in the exercise. As such, state institutions, educational establishments and a number of private companies agreed to participate in this simulation, which was the first on a national level, but the third in the city capital, Bogotá [es].

Official logo of the national evacuation campaign

Official logo of the national evacuation campaign

The event's official site published [es]:

El Simulacro de Evacuación ha permitido posicionar a Bogotá y al país en general como líderes en el tema de prevención y preparación para afrontar emergencias en América Latina. Este año se ha hecho especial énfasis en el sector educativo, en el cual ya confirmaron su participación 214 planteles educativos, tanto privados como públicos, de toda la ciudad.

The Evacuation Simulation has allowed Bogotá, and the country in general, to position themselves as leaders in the area of prevention and preparation for overcoming emergencies in Latin America. This year, special emphasis has been placed on the education sector, in which 214 educational establishments in the entire city, both private and public, have confirmed their participation.

Social networks did their part and people spoke about the event with quite a sense of humor.

Some also placed a political spin on it. Carlos Hernánez (@creacionhumana) [es] said that it was a smokescreen so that people would not discuss the passage of the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Colombia:

Lo del #simulacro era para distraernos de la aprobación del TLC?

Was the #simulation done to distract us from the passage of the FTC?

Mal_nacida (@JelizMon) [es] took advantage of the situation and spoke about the flaws in the Colombian health system's attention to emergencies:

Por que no mejor un #simulacro de atender bien en las URGENCIAS de los hospitales

Why not do a better #simulation and pay more attention to the EMERGENCIES in the hospitals

Nonetheless, Twitter users like Marisol Gutierrez (@marysolga) [es] made light of the event and wrote:

charlé, reí, caminé, busqué a mi grupo, dije presente y volví a trabajar, estaba #simulacro. Jaja será que en un terremoto se pasa tan bueno?

I chatted, I laughed, I walked, I looked for my group, said I was present and went back to work. That was the #simulation. Haha, are real earthquakes so much fun?

There were also varying opinions that demonstrated the fact that the objective of the event was not reached.

José David Hidalgo (@josedavidalejo) [es] wrote:

El #Simulacro De Mi Colegio Fue Muy Malooo :/

The #Simulation At My High School Was Really Bad :/

Geovanna Valencia (@Geovannella) [es] pointed out that during a real emergency, no one stays calm:

#simulacro es una perdedera de tiempo, a la hora de una emergencia NADIE piensa, ni conserva la calma!

#simulation is a waste of time, at the moment of an emergency NO ONE thinks, nor remains calm!

Finally some, like Sebastián Álvarez (@SebasAlvarez6) [es], didn't notice a simulation was going on:

Yo ni me di cuenta del #simulacro!

I did not even realize the #simulation was happening!

You can read more reactions under the hashtag #simulacro.

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