Saturday, September 6, 2014

Indian Army Intensifies Op 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. 

MoD Statement : 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 Statement from Udhampur :


A total of 11000 civilians have been rescued, out of these 2000 civilians have been provided food and temporary shelters.  

In view of the worsening flood situation in Kashmir and inundation of hundreds of villages, Army has intensified Mission Sahayata employing more than 60 Army columns and 13 Engineer teams tirelessly working to rescue precious lives trapped in flooded villages, isolated houses and multi-storied buildings in the inundated areas all over Kashmir. As the number of shelter less people is rising, Army is also providing tented accommodation to hundreds of people.

Major flood rescue operations started on 02 September, however, with increasing involvement, Mission Sahayata was launched to cover areas in entire Valley. First critical rescue mission was undertaken on 02 September when in an extraordinary display of bravery and commitment, a youth was rescued from Sindh River at Watalbagh village of Ganderbal. Since then, with every passing day, Army’s involvement  in extremely challenging circumstances of rescue kept increasing.

By 04 September, eight major columns were employed for rescuing large number of families trapped in areas that had got trapped in inundated areas. Over 400 people were taken to safety. In addition to these, large number of people were assisted to relocate themselves, many vehicles stuck inside water were recovered and food packets were distributed.

By 05 September, there were 70 major columns and 12 Engineer teams operating in Kashmir and by the night over 5000 precious lives had been moved to safety. 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. A helicopter based rescue mission was launched to rescue the stranded personnel, however, bad weather prevented execution of the mission and finally boats were used to reach. Till making of this report two soldiers were still stranded in the area. Such is the situation in certain areas of Kashmir that hundreds of families that moved into upper stories of their houses due to inundation of ground floor, are yet to be reached. Joint Control Room and helpline centers established by Army in Kashmir are getting frantic calls from people and dispatching columns to rescue them. Bad weather, not allowing employment of helicopters, is further affecting the rescue mission.

On 06 September, on a request of the civil administration, Army is providing 50 tents in the Noorbagh area of Safakadal to accommodate hundreds of people stranded due to the floods. 
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IAF Statement :

Current Situation Heavy rains wreaked havoc in the hill states of Jammu & Kashmir, starting from 03 Sep 14. The worst affected area was between Udhampur and Jammu. The total rainfall recorded last 3 days over Udhampur,Jammu and Srinagar has been 493.2 mm, 327.2 mm and 146.3 mm respectively. This calamity has left over 100 dead and many stranded in various parts of the state. HQ Western Air Command, IAF promptly responded to report by civil agencies, Army and BSF by rendering its services with Mi17IV, Mi17V5, Chetak & Cheetah Helicopter. Distress calls from stranded civilians and security personnel came from Kulgam, Rajouri, Punch, Kishanpur, Gagral, Bachalta, Thani, Baramula, Anantnag, Akhnoor, ganduchak, Hamirpur, Jammu and Border Observation Posts along International Border and LOC.

           
Helicopters are operating from Srinagar, Udhampur, Jammu and Pathankot and all efforts are being made to evacuate as many souls as possible in spite of inclement weather and limited resources. Transport aircraft have been supporting rescue ops operating from Bhatinda,Chandigarh,Srinagar,Jammu and Awantipur.


           
Rescue and relief operations by the IAF picked up tempo as the weather improved.  Mi-17 IV and Mi-17 V5 helicopters from Air Force Station Jammu availed every possible opportunity that weather provided to bring succor to the suffering inhabitants of the flood affected regions. The helicopters evacuated 401 personnel, flying over 13 sorties over inundated areas, negotiating marginal weather. The operations require high levels of skill, situational awareness and maturity to successfully accomplish the task. 29 BSF and 05 Army personnel were amongst those rescued during the day.


           
The operations and weather over the affected area are closely monitored by the Command Staff at HQ WAC. The Task Force Commander (TFC) & AOC AF Stn Jammu, Air Commodore Prashant Patange VM has been directing & controlling the operations on ground from AF Station Jammu.

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