Tri-services help in rescue and relief operations in Chennai
[ By R. Chandrakanth
T] he southern city of Chennai has never been battered this badly in its history. The deluge which has taken hundreds of lives and dislocated thousands of families is the worst crisis that it has witnessed in many years. The burgeoning metropolis on the east coast has become islands of misery and at the time of writing, there was a brief respite from the rains. Relief operations on a massive scale are ongoing and in the forefront are the tri-services of the armed forces – the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.
Indian Army deploys men and material
The Indian Army’s four columns, including troops from the Garrison Infantry Battalion located in Chennai along with four columns from Bengaluru, continue to carry out extensive rescue and relief operations at Tambaram, Mudichur, Mannivakkam, Guduvancheri and Urapakkam areas. The Army is addressing the most critical areas where flood water levels have reached 10-12 feet. Over 30 Army trucks have also been employed for ferrying stranded people in areas where the water level is less than six feet.
The Army column located at Guduvancheri and Urapakkam are carrying out rescue operations and have rescued over 600 stranded people in Waigai Nagar and Priya Nagar. The Army column at Mannivakkam has evacuated over 800 people including stranded students from educational institutes in and around Kutheri to safer places. Another Army column operating at Mudichur has rescued over 750 people.
While flood rescue operations are in full swing, three more Army columns from Bengaluru are being brought in with rescue and relief equipment to augment rescue efforts. Additional two columns have been kept on standby in Secunderabad for any contingencies. With civil communication and mobile towers out of communication in critical areas of Chennai, the Army is resorting to radio communication for coordinating rescue operations to reach affected people and rescue them.
The Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh, reviewed the situation and strategised additional measures and efforts required for the ongoing rescue and relief efforts.
IAF aircraft does sorties after sorties
The Indian Air Force is also spearheading the rescue and relief operations called ‘Operation Madad’. The IAF established an air bridge between Tambaram Air Force base and Naval Air base Arakkonam in Chennai to facilitate rescue and relief operations. The Chennai airport has shut down following flooding. The IAF has deployed six Mi-17, one Mi-8, one ALH and five Cheetah helicopters. Strategic airlift assets including C-17 Globemaster, C-130 Hercules, IL-76, An-32 and AVRO aircraft are flying extensively, carrying relief materials and disaster relief and rescue teams including the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Army and other relief teams. Flood victims are being evacuated out of Tambaram base to safer areas.
The IAF has airlifted 17 teams of NDRF teams from Delhi, Bhubaneswar and Bathinda. It has also airlifted four Indian Army columns to Chennai. One C-130J from Tambaram to Delhi and two C-17s from Arakkonam took stranded passengers to Begumpet and Delhi. The helicopter operations are on in full swing wherein four medium-lift helicopter, one advance light helicopter (ALH) and five Chetak/Cheetah are involved actively in rescue and relief operations. One helicopter is positioned in Tirupati to aid the Andhra Pradesh Government.
Indian Navy uses UAVs to pinpoint worst affected areas
The Indian Navy is also in full force at Chennai helping in the rescue and relief operations. The Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R.K. Dhowan told SP’s that the Navy had deployed personnel and equipment in