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

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