In one of the largest operations in several decades, the Army and the Air Force today mounted massive rescue and relief operations in the flood and landslide affected areas of Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh while the Border Roads Organisation deployed 3000 of its personnel and equipment, working for various projects, to clear the roads and to rescue the stranded people.
IAF’s C 130J aircraft was launched today for reconnaissance mission as a part of ‘Op Rahat’ besides deploying 20 aircraft which include – 08- Mi 17, 10- ALH and 01- An-32 and 01- Avro to carry out constant missions from first light right upto sunset.
While the C 130 J on recce mission flew over – flood affected areas in
Dehradun – Uttarkashi, Kedarnath and Joshimath to track the critical areas in the region so as to assign priority to Disaster Relief Operations and facilitate further relief operations, approx 1000 persons have been evacuated by the helicopters who carried NDRF teams and dropped 9000 kg of relief material since yesterday with the axis of IAF operations covering– Phata, Guptkashi, Gaurikund, Kedarnath in Dehradun and Rampur, Karcham, Rincompeo, Sangla in Himachal.
A special task was also carried out by ALH based at Bareilly that rescued about 50 marooned villagers in the foothills using winch equipment. They would be subsequently be positioned at Pithoragarh sector for rescue and food packet drop effort.
Four ALH helicopters of the Sarang Display Team are also deployed for relief operations. One AN-32 aircraft from Agra landed at Jolly Grant air field today carrying 10 NDRF personnel and three tonnes of load consisting of tents and other essential items.
Army today put in place and commenced execution of ‘Operation SURYA HOPE’ with the aim of providing succor, hope, humanitarian assistance and logistic needs in Badrinath, Hemkund and Kedarnath regions. In first phase, Army teams carried out reconnaissance of area and air evacuation of isolated pockets along Govindghat-Badrinath road and Ghagriya-Hemkund track on 19 June and concentrate isolated people at Badrinath and Ghagriya by 20 June. Focused air evacuation will then commence from both the places from 21 June onwards.
In the second phase, Army will target Kedarnath region. Reconnaissance of the area has been undertaken today and the troops will be concentrated at Sonprayag and Kedarnath. All isolated people will be concentrated at Sonprayag and Kedarnath on 21 June and air evacuation will commence from 22 June onwards
In both Badrinath and Kedarnath sectors Army will be inducting soldiers using helicopters who will be stationed at every 2 Kms all along the roads to enable them to contact isolated people. Soldiers would be in place by 20 June, who will provide leadership, succor, medical air and engineer effort. Army has so far inducted 12 medical teams and opened emergency medical helpline. Beside 600 stranded civilians have been given access to Army communications to facilitate them to contact their families.
The Army so far inducted 5600 personnel to carryout relief and rescue operations. Nine Army helicopters have been pressed into service and additional six helicopters would be operational from 20 June onwards. Army so far evacuated 1610 civilians in Uttarkashi district and provided shelter, food and medical aid to 1300 people. In the Joshimath sector 3034 civilians have been evacuated to Joshimath so far and provided shelter, food and warm clothing to 1276 people. In Kedarnath region, Army has been able to establish contact and distribute food packets to 250 people at isolated places.
As per latest reports, more than 2800 people are still stranded in Harsil – Gangotri area, and approx 5500 in Kedarnath valley, 2500 on Hemkund axis and approx 15,000 on Badrinath axis.
Army today also evacuated 1550 people from Govindghat, inserted four more medical teams on Badrinath and Hemkund axis, distributed more than 5000 food packets in Govingghat, Pandukeshwar, isolated locations in Badrinath and Kedarnath regions. Army doctors treated 300 people in Joshimath, 150 in Harsil, and 70 in Rudraprayag. Army teams repaired mini hydel project in Harsil and power is likely to be restored in the area tomorrow. After clearing 8 land slide sites in the last 2 days, Army cleared road Narendranagar- Uttarkashiupto 40 kms south of Dharasu. Civilian helicopters today evacuated 300 people from Ghagria on Hemkund axis. All of them were provided assistance by the Army.
Lt Gen Anil Chait, Army Commander, Central Command alongwith core team of officers are now located in the forward area of Uttarkhand to personally take stock of the situation, coordinate and ensure effective implementation of the plan with the sole aim of providing relief and rescue to stranded population.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has diverted its resources- personnel and equipment for Projects such as Shivalik, Deepak and Hirak for clearing roads and to rescue the affected people. All Bulldozers, JCBs, Excavators, Compressors and other platforms have been deployed for the rescue and restoration work.