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Flood Relief Operations by Armed Forces in Kashmir: 9000 residents rescued

New Delhi: The State of Jammu & Kashmir has been experiencing heavy rainfall in last 3 to 4 days and almost all rivers of the State are in spate, flowing above the danger mark. Armed Forces are carrying out flood relief operations inspite of continuous heavy downpour and bad weather conditions prevailing, and rescuing and evacuating stranded civilians as well as service personnel stuck in the floods. Six NDRF teams have been airlifted by an IAF aircraft from Bathinda to Srinagar. 120 Army columns have been deployed across the State rescuing more than 9000 civilians so far. IAF aircraft have flown about 30 sorties to induct NDRF teams and have evacuated 212 people so far, who were stranded in Akhnoor, Gagariyal and Fort Bridge. A major rescue operation was conducted by IAF in Akhnoor rescuing 11 adults and 03 children by a MI-17 helicopter. 15 MI-17 Medium Lift Helicopters, seven Light helicopters and three AN-32 and one IL-76 Transport Aircraft have been placed on standby across the State. The relief effort is being coordinated by HQ Army Northern Command in Udhampur in consultation with the Advance Air HQ. The situation is being monitored and reviewed regularly by the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff at HQ IDS and meeting was held for the same with all stakeholders. Army Intensifies Mission Sahayata In view of the worsening flood situation in Kashmir and inundation of hundreds of villages, Army has intensified ‘Mission Sahayata’ employing more than 110 Army columns and Engineer teams have rescued 13,000 precious lives trapped in flooded villages, isolated houses and buildings in the inundated areas all over Jammu & Kashmir region. As the number of shelter less people is rising, Army has also providing tented accommodation to 3,000 people. Major flood rescue operations started on 02 September, however, with increasing involvement, Mission Sahayata was launched to cover areas in entire Valley. Army troops were working against all odds, endangering their own lives. On 06 September, a column of Army operating at Kakapora of Pulwama District itself came under floods. While moving on a boat to place of safety, the boat carrying 11 personnel capsized and they got stranded. Till issuing of this release two soldiers were still stranded in the area. Army Formations continue to proactively reach out to flood affected people to render all possible assistance. Army helicopters are on standby and poor weather is restricting their full employment. IAF Swings into Action In the past 48 hours Indian Air Force mounted IL-76 sorties and pressed into action two AN-32 aircraft to airlift NDRF teams and equipment from Bhatinda to Srinagar and Jammu Air Force Bases. The HQ Western Air Command has opened a disaster monitoring cell that is coordinating the efforts between all its bases including Srinagar, Udhampur, Jammu & Sarsawa apart from fixed wing effort from other bases. The IAF Command has alerted all its bases to a high state of readiness to respond to the emerging situation. Today bad weather at Srinagar did not permit lauch of Helicopter effort, from there. 06 sorties by Mi-17 IV and Mi 17 V-5 were launched ex AF Stn Jammu that evacuated 108 personnel from including 3 children of these 94 personnel were moved to safer areas. Many of them were stranded on rooftops, marooned in the floods. The IL-76 airlifted 32 tonnes of load and 162 NDRF personnel to Srinagar, Where as two AN-32 carried 25 NDRF personnel and load of 4 Tonnes to AF Stn Jammu. The IAF has assigned aircrafts at its bases at Agra, Chandigarh, Suratgarh and Sarsawa apart from those in J&K area for the relief operation. Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh and Chief Minister, Shri Omar Abdullah this morning reviewed the prevailing flood situation in Jammu and Kashmir at a high level meeting in Srinagar and took stock of the rescue and relief measures put in place to provide necessary succor to the flood-hit population. Immediately after arriving at technical airport Srinagar, the Union Home Minister drove to the meeting venue and was apprised of the situation that has arisen due to incessant rains resulting into devastating flood particularly in Kashmir Valley and some districts of Jammu Division. The Chief Minister gave overview of the situation and the measures taken by the State Administration to safeguard the lives and to evacuate people from the submerged areas. The Union Home Minister assured all help from the Centre to the State to overcome the difficulties and help relief and rehabilitation of the affected population. He added that a comprehensive report on losses be sent to the Government of India as early as possible.

About Sanjay Trivedi

Sanjay Trivedi is honorary editor of Asia Times. He is senior Indian Journalist having vast experience of 25 years. He worked in Janmabhoomi, Vyapar, Divya Bhaskar etc. newspapers and TV9 Channel as well as www.news4education.com. He also served as Media Officer in Gujarat Technological University.

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