Sunday, October 4, 2009

IAF aids rescue operations

BANGALORE: The Indian Army and the Air Force have been pressed into action to assist in flood relief and rescue operations in the floodaffected areas of North Karnataka.

Upon being called by the state government to assist relief operations, army columns were moved out from Belgaum to assist the district administration in Gadag, where Ron and Nargund taluks have been badly affected with entire villages being cut off and marooned.

The districts of Belgaum, Raichur, Gadag, Bellary, Haveri and Koppal are the worst affected, with heavy rains over the last 24 hours in excess of 200 mm to 250 mm.

Similarly, the Air Force also flew sorties to rescue marooned people and drop food packets in the affected areas.

The Bangalore-based Training Command has launched helicopters and fixedwing aircrafts. A round-the-clock flood relief cell has been set up at the Air Force stations in Yelahanka and Hakimpet.

The first helicopter with the specialist equipment to winch up survivors went airborne early morning on Friday to the affected areas.

By afternoon, six helicopters of IAF station, Yelahanka flew 12 sorties, dropping about 750 kgs of relief material, mainly food packets, in and around the flood-hit areas and rescuing 43 persons by carrying out live winching, said a Ministry of Defence statement.

The IAF personnel evacuated about 12 people caught in neck-level deep water in low-lying areas of Bellary district and dropped them at safe places. In addition, 32 lives were saved from Mantralayam in Raichur district.

The crew of the helicopter hovered close to the rooftops on which the people had gathered in the low-lying areas.

The IAF also responded to requests from the Andhra Pradesh government to assist them in rescue operations.  

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