ARMY INTENSIFIES OPERATION MEGH RAHAT
Massive flooding caused in Kashmir due to incessant rains since 03 September got worsened when River Jhelum already flowing few meters above danger line, breached its banks at number of places in highly populated areas of Srinagar town. Over night the water level rose to 15 to 18 feet submerging upto two stories of thousands of houses in the areas of Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Shivpora and Indranagar. So much so that almost half of the Badami Bagh Cantonment of Srinagar was similarly affected. Army, which was already heavily committed on rescue and relief operation, pooled in all its resources and further intensified the rescue and relief, employing a total of 84 columns with 15 Engineer teams to bring the people to safety. Over 3000 civil persons were evacuated on 07 September, bringing the total to over 12700 civilians who have been evacuated to places of safety. In addition to this, Army had to evacuate over 1400 of its own personnel and their families from the areas that had got inundated due to flooding. Army is also involved in providing shelter, food, water and medicine to the affected persons. Limited number of boats available with Army was causing a major hindrance to the rescue operations. To overcome these problems, Army has inducted 8 boats and an Engineer Task Force using Air Force aircraft and requisitioned/commandeered additional boats from the civil administration and others, immediately pressing them into service. Alongside these efforts, numerous sorties of Air Force aircraft have inducted much needed stores and equipment such as blankets, tentage, medical stores, 30 additional boats for other agencies and variety of essential stores that will be needed as part of relief efforts.
On the sidelines of the rescue operations large scale relief camps are being established at Avantipur and Anantnag. To cater to the people being evacuated from Srinagar, makeshift relief camps have been created inside Badami Bagh Cantonment and the services of 92 Base Hospital Srinagar are being utilized. The weather being clear, a number of helicopters were also pressed into action to transport rescue and relief materials to the isolated areas of South Kashmir. In addition to these essential items, these helicopters have also airlifted four boats and a medical team for Anantnag.
In Srinagar town, the major rescue efforts were launched in the areas covering Shivpora, Indranagar and areas adjoining Badami Bagh, as the areas on the other side of Jhelum river could not be accessed from the BB Cantt side of the town. With induction of the additional boats into Valley, additional missions from the airport side are being launched to cover the highly affected areas of Raj Bagh and Jawahar-nagar. Army has planned to continue the rescue operations even during night as there are thousands of people trapped in second floor, third floor or on the roof tops. The effected people being rescued are being housed within the Badami Bagh Cantonment.
Defense Spokesman, Lt Col Manish Mehta said that the flood relief columns of Army are working tirelessly, risking their lives. A total of 80 villages from the valley were provided assistance, food packets and medicines. 1400 Army personnel and families evacuated from within the BB Cantonment comprised 120 children staying in BB Cantt Transit Camp, 900 Army personnel and 380 families residing in the flood affected areas.
Army is tirelessly working to save the precious lives of Kashmiri Awaam and providing succor much beyond its resources. Additional resources are also being pushed from Delhi Chandigarh and other areas to obviate the problems of connectivity, communications, shelter, food and medicine.