In one of the largest operations in several decades, the Indian 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.
An Indian Air Force's C 130J heavy-lift Hercules was launched on a reconnaissance mission today as a part of 'Op Rahat' besides 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, Kedarnath and Joshimath to track the critical areas in the region to assign priority to disaster relief operations and facilitate further relief operations, approximately 1,000 persons have been evacuated by the helicopters who carried NDRF teams.
The helicopters airdropped 9,000kg of relief material since yesterday with the axis of IAF operations covering – Phata, Guptkashi, Gaurikund, Kedarnath in Uttarkashi 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 have also beendeployed for relief operations. One AN-32 aircraft from Agra landed at Jolly Grant air field near Dehra Duntoday carrying 10 NDRF personnel and three tonnes of load consisting of tents and other essential items.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has diverted its personnel and equipment from various projects for clearing roads and to rescuing the affected people. All bulldozers, JCBs, excavators, compressors and other platforms have been deployed for the rescue and restoration work.
The Army today commenced execution of 'Operation Surya Hope' aimed at providing 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 to shephard and concentrate isolated groups 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 2km all along the roads to collect isolated groups.
Soldiers would be in place by 20 June, to provide a morale boost, relief, medical air and evacuation. The Army has so far inducted 12 medical teams and opened an emergency medical helpline. Beside 600 stranded civilians have been provided access to Army communications to facilitate them to contact their families.
The Army so far inducted 5,600 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. the Army hasd so far evacuated 1610 civilians in Uttarkashi district and provided shelter, food and medical aid to 1300 people.
In the Joshimath sector 3,034 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.
According to thelatest reports, more than 2,800 people are still stranded in the Harsil – Gangotri area, and approximately 5,500 in Kedarnath valley, 2,500 on Hemkund axis and around 15,000 on the Badrinath trail.
The Army today also evacuated 1,550 people from Govindghat, and inserted four more medical teams on the Badrinath and Hemkund axis, distributed more than 5,000 food packets in Govingghat, Pandukeshwar, and isolated regions in Badrinath and Kedarnath.
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 two days, the Army cleared the road from Narendranagar to Uttarkashi around 40km south of Dharasu.
Civilian helicopters also evacuated 300 people from Ghagria on Hemkund axis today, with the Army's assistance.
Lt Gen Anil Chait, Army commander, Central Command, is currently camping along with core teams of officers are in the forward area of Uttarkhand to personally take ensure smooth coordination and ensure effective implementation of relief and rescue operations.
(Also see: Floods wreak havoc over large parts of Uttarakhand)