Air Force swings into action as Kashmir floods leave thousands homeless

The Indian Air Force has sprung into action as flood across Kashmir valley threatens to leave thousands homeless as there was no let up in the rains for the fifth day on Saturday.

Updated: Sep 06, 2014, 18:56 PM IST
Air Force swings into action as Kashmir floods leave thousands homeless

Srinagar: The Indian Air Force has sprung into action as flood across Kashmir valley threatens to leave thousands homeless as there was no let up in the rains for the fifth day on Saturday.

An official release informed that in the past 48 hours the Indian Air Force has mounted IL-76 sorties and pressed into action two AN-32 aircraft to airlift NDRF teams and equipment from Bhatinda to Srinagar and Jammu Air Force bases.

The HQ Western Air Command has opened a disaster monitoring cell that is coordinating the efforts between all its bases including Srinagar, Udhampur, Jammu & Sarsawa apart from fixed wing effort from other bases, the release informs.

The IAF Command has alerted all its bases to a high state of readiness to respond to the emerging situation.

Bad weather at Srinagar did not permit lauch of Helicopter effort on today, but six sorties by Mi-17 IV and Mi 17 V-5 were launched from Jammu that evacuated 108 personnel including 3 children—of these 94 personnel were moved to safer areas.

The IL-76 airlifted 32 tonnes of load and 162 NDRF personnel to Srinagar, whereas two AN-32 carried 25 NDRF personnel and load of four tonnes to AF Stn Jammu.

The IAF has assigned aircrafts at its bases at Agra, Chandigarh, Suratgarh and Sarsawa apart from those in J&K area for the relief operation.

With nearly 400 villages of the Valley inundated by unprecedented floods, the residents from many of these villages have moved to safer places, leaving behind their homes and belongings as water level continues to rise due to incessant rains, the officials said.

Army, police and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been assisting and helping affected people to move to safer places, they said.

The people have been lodged in school buildings, mosques and even at several railway stations in Srinagar and south Kashmir districts of Pulwama and Anantnag, they said.

Residents in many areas are reluctant to leave their houses due to apprehensions about security of their property, making the task of the rescue teams difficult, the officials said.

The state government has established community kitchens at several places for the displaced people while some NGOs have also started providing relief materials like blankets and clothes to those affected.

The civil administration has appealed to the people living near the rivers and rivulets in the Valley to move to safer places as embankments have been breached at many places in Pulwama district.

More areas are likely to be affected by the floods in the Valley as MeT department has forecast more rains over the next 24 hours across the state.

The death toll in the worst floods in the state in nearly six decades has claimed 100 lives so far.

With PTI Inputs