Over 15,000 People Rescued in ‘Op Madad’

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The Southern Naval Command continued #OperationMadad at an even greater tempo, to meet the increasing requests for relief and rescue from the affected areas of Kerala. SNC rescue teams have been augmented by Gemini boats, divers and other resources from both Eastern and Western Naval Commands of the India Navy. As of 4:30 pm on 19 August, the eleventh day of #OperationMadad, the total number of diving teams deployed were 92, which have been sent to multiple locations across the affected districts. Twenty newly inducted teams were put into action today, to augment those already in place. Rescue operations were extended to two more districts of Kannur and Alappuzha, in addition to the three districts already covered of Thrissur, Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta. A total of 14,797 people have been rescued by boats, over 609 people airlifted to safety and relief material worth 8000 kg air dropped till date.

A total of 48 rescue teams with one Gemini boat each are deployed in Ernakulam district at various places. One team is at Pizhala island, one at Edapally, seven at Perumbavur, 16 at North Paravur, 10 at Aluva, four at Muvattupuzha, seven at Kadangallur and two at Athani. About 250 persons located at Moolamvelli Church were shifted in civil boats to a safe place by the rescue team at Pizhala island. As water levels started to recede, the rescue team expanded the area of operations to include eight nearby islands. The rescue efforts in the district have expanded to include Athani near Nedumbassery. In the Thrissur district, the deployment at Chalakkudy has been reduced to seven teams and another three teams are deployed at Mala. In Pathanamthitta district, ten teams are deployed at Chengannur, 17 at Thiruvalla, and one team each at Ayroor and Pullad. Meanwhile, the deployment at Wayanad district was called off as the situation improved and the teams were diverted to other more critical locations. One rescue team is positioned at Kannur and 19 teams are in Alappuzha district. All together, rescue teams have been able to rescue more than 3575 people by boats as on 19 Aug 18.

In addition, all air assets available at INS Garuda have been extensively utilised for winching up stranded personnel, transfer of stores, boats, and provision of relief material – especially food and water. Air rescue has been carried out at various places in all four districts; namely, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta. Various aircraft including ALH, Sea King, Chetak and MI 17 (of IAF) were able to rescue more than 59 people today. Over 800 kg relief material consisting of over a lakh food packets, along with bottled water and medicines, were also airdropped on the roof tops of various houses/ churches. Some ten ladies in advanced stages of pregnancy were also airlifted to safety.

The Naval Air Station, Garuda has facilitated the undertaking civil aviation operations from Naval Base, Kochi. An interaction at Garuda chaired by Joint DGCA and attended by CIAL APD, CISF and representatives of various airlines was held to review the airfield facilities available and the layout of arrival departure plans. The School for Naval Airmen (SFNA) has drawn out a plan for commercial flying and the naval airstrip has been cleared by the DGCA for ATR aircraft to operate. While SNC will provide the airfield and handle ATC functions, the safety, security, baggage screening, X-ray machines, trolleys and passenger screening etc will be the responsibility of the AAI, CISF and concerned airlines. Initially scheduled commercial flights by Alliance Air using ATRs will commence between Bangalore and Cochin Naval Air Station, starting from 20th August. More destinations such as Coimbatore, Madurai will be added later. Other airlines are also expected to operate from the naval airfield till CIAL is ready to undertake the flying operations. The floods in Kerala have resulted in turning back the clock, as commercial flying used to take place at Air Station Garuda till 10 Jun 1999, when CIAL got inaugurated.

Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, the largest hospital in Kochi having about 1000 patients, suffered a power disruption to various critical facilities, including ICU due to unprecedented flooding. The hospital requested for urgent help from SNC late in the night on 17 Aug for repairing its defective water pumps that had caused disruption in water supply. A team from the Naval Ship Repair Yard, Kochi consisting of an officer, a senior sailor and two technicians were sent to the hospital in the wee hours of 18 Aug 18. The pumps were totally non operational and the starters were submerged in water. The team fashioned a small life raft using some pipe material to reach the location and replaced three pumps with those held in the naval inventory. They also repaired the starters, to get the system operational in a matter of 10 hours. The timely action ensured availability of much needed freshwater to the hospital and to the patients. The hospital was very appreciative of the efforts put in by the naval team.

Approximately 250 rescued people are presently being accommodated at the T2 hangar inside the Naval Base, which has been converted into a make shift relief camp. Another relief camp set up by the Naval Armament Depot, Aluva is catering for another 500 persons. A medical camp is set up at the relief camp and two medical officers with their team are providing first aid and other treatment for the needy. The Naval Kindergarten (NKG) School within the Naval Base has also been converted into a relief camp and approximately 170 persons have been accommodated there. Two Kendriya Vidyalayas, close to the Naval Base and administered by SNC, have also been kept standby as an additional relief camps to house more displaced persons. INS Venduruthy has started to issue Free Detention Certificates to the people who are leaving the relief camps, to maintain a record and to help the victims.

A community kitchen set up by INS Venduruthy in the campus of Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) is catering for 5000 people. 17 cooks, 4 officers and 13 staff are working tirelessly to serve all three meals and tea twice a day for the needy. The demand for food includes 2000 persons at UC College. The state government authorities have also contributed to this kitchen, providing condiments and other edible items for its smooth functioning.

The Western Fleet tanker, INS Deepak was requisitioned from Mumbai and arrived at Kochi with fresh water and rations to augment the disaster relief efforts. The ship sailed at a very short notice on 17 Aug 18 and reached Kochi on AM 19 Aug 18. The ship disembarked 8 lakh litres of drinking water, 13,592 kg fresh provisions,488 kg dry provisions, 1228 packets of ready to eat meals (MRE), 3400 bottles of mineral water and 3100 pouches of drinking water.