Chandigarh, August 29
The Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a total of 226 sorties covering 115 flying hours, evacuating 1,330 persons and ferrying 45 tonnes of load during disaster relief operations in Himachal Pradesh during July and August.
The IAF deployed Chinook, Mi-17 and Cheetah helicopters to assist the civil administration in areas that were hit by heavy rain and landslides in the hill state, a defence spokesperson said here on Tuesday.
Two Mi-17 V5, one Mi-17 1V and two Cheetah Helicopters were deployed from July 11 to July 31 for rescue operations in Chandratal and Samundar Tapu areas, air-dropping rations, medicines and essential supplies, as well as deploying national and state disaster relief crew.
Sustenance rations and essential medicines were delivered at the doorstep of the stranded citizens in the inaccessible areas in the Sainj Sector.
In all, 116 sorties were flown utilizing 64 flying hours during this period, dropping 30.145 tonnes of relief material and rescuing 306 people. The operations were carried out from Bhuntar airfield in Kullu.
In mid-August, yet again flash floods owing to cloud-burst in Himachal Pradesh resulted in severe damages in Fatehpur and Indora districts. Disaster relief operations in Himachal Pradesh were recommenced on August 15.
One Chinook helicopter from Chandigarh deployed excavation equipment of an Engineer Regiment weighing three tonnes along with 18 troops at Shimla to clear debris and assist in rescue at a temple that had collapsed.
Two Mi-17 1V helicopters were deployed at Pathankot, carrying out extensive rescue operations in the marooned areas that had been cut-off due to torrential rains and landslides.
The IAF’s Garud commandos also played a pivotal role in the rescue operations by reaching out to the last citizen, be it winching or ground rescue. Immediate casualty evacuation response was extended in rescue of two civilians by a Mi-17 1V in Kullu.
The helicopters were de-inducted on August 17, after having conducted 77 sorties covering 39.30 flying hours and airlifting three tonnes of load.
On August 24, further requests were received from the state government for immediate relief operations in areas that were cut-off due flooding and operations were commenced from Pathankot.
The three-day effort was primarily focused towards airdrop of 20 tonnes of rations and pre-prepared food items in Mandi District by Mi-17 helicopters. Four patients, who were critical, were also airlifted to PGI, Chandigarh.
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