Terming the flood in Bihar as "the biggest national calamity in recent times," Lieutenant General H S Panag today said the Army, Navy and Airforce would work in tandem with the state government to evacuate the affected and distribute relief.
A total of 43 columns of the Army, each comprising engineers, medical staff and 100 Armymen with motorised boats would fan out to remote areas of flood-ravaged Supaul, Madhepura, Saharsa, Purnia and Araria districts within the next 48 hours, Panag, who is leading the flood relief operations, said after meeting Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Patna.
Fifteen Army columns are now engaged in distributing relief and evacuating the marooned. Army infantry has been deployed in the affected districts as back support so that engineers' task forces could work unhindered.
A fully equipped control tower has been set up in Patna to coordinate and synergise the work and although the flood in the Kosi has subsided, the next 10 days would be crucial, he said.
The government has ordered Patna airport authorities to remain open for 34 hours to receive additonal Army aid and relief while the ordnance factories have been ordered to provide more than 1,000 tents in the next three days to the Army engaged in rescue and relief work, Panag said.