09:59 GMT +323 March 2018
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    Major earthquake exercise under way in Russian Far East

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    PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, September 7 (RIA Novosti, Oksana Guseva) - A major exercise conducted by Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry to practice dealing with a major earthquake is under way on the far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, a ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

    According to the spokesman, an 8.8-magnitude earthquake will be forecast on the first day of the exercise, and an emergency commission will be set up to oversee the preparation of ministry personnel and equipment, as well as coordination between various agencies.

    The active stage of the exercise will start Thursday, with Minister Sergei Shoigu expected to attend. Rescue and medical teams, army units, law enforcement agencies and public utility specialists are scheduled to conduct disaster relief operations after an earthquake and tsunami in the Avachinskaya Bay, the spokesman said.

    The exercise will involve more than 200 rescuers, and 60 vehicles and aircraft, he added.

    According to research conducted by the International Institute of Earthquake Prediction Theory and Mathematical Geophysics, there is at least a 30% probability of an earthquake with a 7.2-magnitude or higher in the area of Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands before mid-December.

    The ministry's regional forces have been on alert since early August. The ministry has coordinated the delivery of additional supplies of medicines and medical equipment, and its far-eastern local departments in Kamchatka, the island of Sakhalin and the Koryak autonomous area are taking measures to reduce the potential damage and losses from an earthquake.

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