irens blared. School kids in the seaside town of Baan Nam Kaem halted lessons. Groups of fishermen dropped their nets to hop on motorbikes and head for higher ground.
During a biannual tsunami drill, people from Thailand’s southern provinces emerged from homes, stores and schools, rushing to designated safe spots in preparation for something they hope to never see – another tsunami.
A sign that southern Thailand wants to both move on and be prepared, the drill was not without problems. In some areas, loudspeakers failed. In others, street vendors stayed by their posts, shopkeepers remained at work and laborers stuck by the sea.
While leaders in tsunami struck areas have coordinated safety plans – building warning towers and preparing safe centers – they admit they are still seeking effective ways to prepare for the next disaster.