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
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.
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.