helicopter fleet of the Indian Air Force has, in a record-breaking feat,
launched unprecedented mercy missions in six different states and one
neighboring country during the peak monsoon season in the flood- ravaged
areas this year. A total of more than 800 sorties, involving more than 725
flying hours, ferried more than 900 tones of relief supplies to the
flood-affected areas and evacuated more than 7000 people between June and
August this year.
Management Cell, under the direct command of the various Command
Headquarters, was set up to liaise with the concerned State Government and
provide every possible assistance to the civil administration. A high
degree of co- ordination between the IAF and the concerned State
Government resulted in the successful accomplishment of all tasks. During
the crisis, large quantities of supplies and personnel including doctors
and paramedics were delivered to the affected areas, accomplished by
flying over 150 sorties, in just three days, in the first week of August.
in which the mercy missions were carried out included Assam, Bihar, Andhra
Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The timely, selfless
and dedicated assistance by the Indian Air Force in the various relief
operations to the State Governments and civil administration did not go
unnoticed. In a letter to the Chief of the Air Staff, the Chief Minister
of Arunachal Pradesh, Mr Mukut Mithi describing the efforts as a ‘missionary
zeal’ said, I write this to inform you of the tremendous and timely
assistance we receivedfrom the Indian Air Force in relief operations.
Apart from saving the life of 284 people by evacuating them from
the swirling waters of the Siang River; they also subsequently air lifted 450
marooned and displaced people to places of safety. For the crew of
the Indian Air Force helicopter doing the rescue mission it was a matter
of pride to have the Chief Minister volunteering himself as the navigator.
As many as 14 people were winched up from an inaccessible spot in an
extremely narrow valley.
operations in various parts of the country could best be summed up by what
appeared in one of the leading dailies in Hyderabad on August 25 last. It
said: The Indian Air Force personnel evacuated about 150 people caught,
in neck-Ievel deep water in low-Iying areas of the twin cities and dropped
them at Parade Grounds all this in just 85 minutes. It
further added, the helicopter would hover close
to the rooftops on which the people had gathered in the low-Iying areas,
with flood waters lapping at their feet. At some places, the pilots
brought the choppers in far lower than rules permit to pick up the people.
One by one, the people were tied to a harness and winched up into the
helicoptel: Once full, the copter would fly away to the Parade Grounds to
disgorge the survivors. This is how the angels act!