J&K floods: 11,000 flood-affected people airlifted by IAF

Indian Air Force has airlifted about 11,000 people so far from various places in flood- ravaged Jammu and Kashmir, a senior officer said on Saturday.

PTI| Updated: Sep 13, 2014, 23:12 PM IST

Srinagar: Indian Air Force has airlifted about 11,000 people so far from various places in flood- ravaged Jammu and Kashmir, a senior officer said on Saturday.

The IAF has airlifted 11,000 people from various helipads, including make-shift ones that have been established post- floods, Air Vice Marshal Upkarjit Singh, who is the Task Force Commander of the IAF relief and rescue operation said.

These include nearly 900 winchings (people airlifted from flooded areas), he said.

Singh said the entire transport fleet of the IAF which includes fixed wing planes like C-17, C-130J, IL-76 and AN-32 -- has been pressed into service for airlifting relief material from all parts of the country to the affected state.

Every part of the country has chipped in with help from Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) down south to Jamnagar in the west, he said.

He said the IAF was operating the transport aircrafts round-the-clock as more than 2,000 tonnes of relief and rescue material was brought in to Srinagar airport from all parts of the country.

Singh said more than 750 helicopter sorties have been carried out so far which have distributed 400 tonnes of relief material and rescue equipment in the affected areas.

As per the instructions from the Prime Minister, the relief planes are taking back stranded people and those in need of urgent medical help in cities like Delhi and Chandigarh.

We have so far de-inducted nearly 20,000 people till yesterday (September 12), the Air Vice Marshall said.

He said the magnitude of Operation Rahat II -- the rescue and relief effort in flood affected areas of Jammu and Kashmir -- is larger than the Operation Rahat carried out in Uttarakhand last year.

"It is unfair to compare the two tragedies but the scale of relief and rescue operations in Jammu and Kashmir is higher than that of Uttarakhand floods," Singh said.

He said the topography of the two places, which results in change in the construction pattern of residential houses, make relief and rescue operations more difficult in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the valley.

Air dropping of relief material becomes difficult as most of the roof tops in Kashmir are slanting and there is possibility that it might not reach the people, he said.