A total of 16,843 people were rescued by the Indian Navy. While 15,670 people were rescued by teams using Gemini boats, 1,173 were airlifted
A defence spokesperson said that nearly 17,000 people were rescued by the Indian Navy from Kerala, which was ravaged by severe flooding triggered by torrential rainfall.
On Monday, Commander Sridhar Warrier said that Navy personnel who were part of the rescue operation called "Op Madad” showed excellent skill and courage. He said that the Wayanad district was the first to be severely affected.
"Such was their efficiency that in fact, no deaths by drowning were reported in any area where Naval teams systematically organised their rescue efforts," he said.
A total of 16,843 people were rescued by the Indian Navy. While 15,670 people were rescued by teams using Gemini boats, 1,173 were airlifted.
Warrier also said that the naval personnel deployed in the worst-hit areas were utilised to the maximum because of efficient command, which was based on inputs from the state administration, as well as feedback from the teams on ground. Moreover, careful planning and optimum utilisation of resources helped in making the rescue operation successful.
"Once the resources available with the Southern Naval Command (SNC) in terms of Gemini boats and divers were found to be falling short, additional resources were sought and promptly received from other Naval commands," Warrier said.
Air Force headquarters were in constant touch with SNC Headquarters for airlift of personnel and equipment from Mumbai and Visakhapatnam to Kochi. This was one of the biggest challenges as landing grounds for the aircraft were difficult to find after most areas were inundated by the flood. Normally, the teams were dropped off at the closest locations and from there they were transported to the affected areas by boats or via roads.
After rescuing, people were either relocated to safe sites or taken to Naval relief camps set up in the T-2 Hangar and Naval KG School inside the Naval Base.
After the waters receded and getting clearance from the state government, de-induction of 92 teams and over 500 men began.
On August 9, when situation worsened, Op Madad State III was executed and subsequently it was raised to State II on August 10. This was the time when relief teams were brought to full readiness and was kept on immediate standby.
Unfortunately, situation became worse on August 14 and state government was forced to open the shutter of 35 dams after water level crossed the danger level.
"This resulted in major flooding at Ernakulam, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts mainly due to opening of shutters of four dams in Idukki district and Kakki Dam in Pathanamthitta district and led to massive increase in water levels and flow in Periyar and Pamba rivers," Warrier added.
During the rescue operation, the Joint Operations Centre (JOC), Kochi became the nerve centre. It worked closely with a Planning and Coordination Section and deployed teams as per requirement.
JOC also functioned as the nerve centre for planning and coordination with all other Services and state agencies.
Now that the floods are over, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the road to recovery could be long.
"I want to appeal to the citizens the tragedy is not for just one state. We have to think about "Sabka sath, sabka vikas", said Union minister Nitin Gadkari.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that Kerala would get more central funds and the initial Rs 600 crore was just the advance assistance.
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Last Updated Sep 9, 2018, 9:31 AM IST