Army launches massive rescue op | india | Hindustan Times
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Army launches massive rescue op

india Updated: Aug 06, 2010 22:43 IST

The armed forces launched a massive rescue and relief operation in Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region where flash floods triggered by a cloudburst killed at least 114 people.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony held a series of meetings with senior officials of the ministry, the armed forces and the premier Defence Research and Development Organisation, an official said on Friday.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed the defence ministry to provide all-out rescue and relief assistance to cloudburst victims in Leh," the official said.

Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar is in "close touch with the state administration of Jammu and Kashmir to ensure coordinated effort for the relief operations", he said.

The flash floods have washed away several government buildings and houses.

More than 6,000 soldiers as well as troopers of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police are involved in the rescue operations in Leh town.

Civilian doctors are operating from the army hospital as the building of the only civil hospital in the area has been filled with mud.

The official said "adequate number of aircraft and helicopters are available at Kargil, Chandigarh and Udhampur to move to Leh".

The runway and air traffic control at the Leh airport suffered mild damage.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday toured Leh and reviewed the rescue and relief operations being carried out by the army, police and district administration.

The chief minister said the focus should be on rescuing those who could still be alive under the debris.

“I have asked the health department to urgently establish an emergency unit in Leh hospital, which has also been damaged greatly in the cloudburst,” he said.

“Necessary equipment and medicine will be airlifted to Leh to operationalise the emergency unit.”