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Army, Navy, NDRF work on war footing in Kerala to carry out rescue and relief operations

NDRF, army, navy teams working round the clock to save lives

india Updated: Aug 17, 2018 23:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kerala floods,Kerala rains,Indian Army
Indian army personal evacuate local residents in a residential area at Aluva in Ernakulam district, in Kerala, on August 17, 2018. (AFP)

As Kerala continues to be battered by devastating floods, the armed forces are carrying out rescue and relief operations on a war footing. The Indian Air Force has deployed three Boeing C-17s, three IL-76s, six C-130 and nine AN-32 military transport aircraft to ferry National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), army and naval equipment to provide succour to those affected by the natural calamity, the worst in decades, an IAF spokesperson said on Friday.

“Overall, a total of 1,073 disaster relief personnel and 118.2 tonnes of load and equipment have been positioned for support of relief work. Further efforts will continue to ensure timely aid to the civil population of Kerala to overcome the emergency situation,” he said. The IAF has positioned teams in Thrissur, Ernakulam, Pattanamthitta, Alleppey and Malappuram to coordinate the massive relief effort.

The Trivandrum-based Southern Air Command is firing on all cylinders to deliver speedy help. As many as 22 IAF helicopters are operating from Sulur, Kochi and Trivandrum and 14 more choppers are on their way to join the overwhelming rescue and relief effort. “A total of 311 civilians have been rescued by winching and food is being distributed at various critical flood-affected areas,” he said.

It’s pouring trouble in Kerala
Kerala is witnessing its worst floods since 1924, when 3,338 mm of rain poured, in which hundreds of people have died and over two lakh people have been left homeless. Here, is district-wise distribution rain and history of rainfall in the state
1924 FLOOD
A total of 3,368 mm of water poured in 1924, worst flood of Kerala
The heavy rainfall for three weeks submerged entire state n Mullaperiyar Dam gave away and entire hill called Karinthiri Malai was washed away
1,000 plus people said to have died
RAINFALL PATTERN
In long-term south-west monsoon rainfall declining in Kerala
1901-1930: More than normal rainfall
1930-1980: Normal rainfall
1981-2005: Deficient rainfall
2005-2016: Deficiency increases
236 mm Overall decline since 1901
1901-2016 The number of deficit rainfall years was 24 and the number of excess years 19
Decline more in predominant monsoon months—June & July
August and September rains have remained almost same
Half of 2191 mm in 2018 in August
Southwest monsoon declining while post-monsoon rain on increase
Sources: IMD, Study on Rainfall trends in twentieth century over Kerala and Kerala government

Kochi-based Southern Naval Command (SNC) has deployed 58 rescue and diving teams with Gemini boats at several locations as part of Operation Madad. “More than 3,000 people have been rescued till date by the SNC and continuous efforts are on to bring the flood-affected people to safety and also provide them essential relief supplies such as food and water,” a navy spokesperson said. As many as 500 rescued people have been accommodated in a make-shift relief camp before shifting them to a relief camp at Fort Kochi.

“As all the assets of SNC have been committed to this operation, other Commands have provided additional disaster relief items comprising 1,000 raincoats, 1,300 gum boots, 264 lifebuoys and 1,000 life jackets,” he said, adding that 25 additional rescue teams with boats were being readied for deployment following a request from the Kerala government.

According to the navy’s figures, 37 teams with one Gemini boat each are deployed at several places in Ernakulam district. At 16, north Paravur has the most number of deployed teams followed by 12 are at Aluva.

The navy’s advanced light helicopters, Sea Kings, Chetaks and MI-17 (of IAF) have rescued 176 people so far, with 50 air sorties amounting to 80 hours being flown, the spokesperson said.

During one such sortie, a 25-year-old heavily pregnant Sajita Jabil was evacuated from Aluva to INHS Sanjivani ( a naval hospital) where she delivered a male child a few hours later.

With Kerala reeling under one of the worst floods, Indian Railways on Friday sent over 2.8 lakh litre of drinking water to the state through wagons and also bottled water. “The Southern Railway has dispatched one water special consisting of seven wagons with water tank from the Erode Junction station at 4 pm today with 2.8 lakh litre of drinking water,” Rajesh Dutt Bajpai, director (media and communication), railway ministry, said. He said the special train to Trivandrum will run via Dindigul, Madurai and Tirunelveli. The seven wagons with water have moved from Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu. The official said the railways is supplying bottled water to the flood-affected in Kerala.“Today 2,740 cartons were despatched from Parassala Rail Neer plant. Another 10,000 cartons of water bottles (1,00,000 bottles) from IRCTC’s Parassala plant in Kerala is under progress,” he said, adding that about 15,000 cartons with water bottles are being despatched from IRCTC’s Palur Plant in Tamil Nadu.

First Published: Aug 17, 2018 23:38 IST