Massive relief and rescue operation for Leh flash floods victims

August 7th, 2010 - 11:58 am ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh Srinagar, Aug 7 (ANI): The Ministry of Home Affairs has been in regular touch with the Jammu and Kashmir Government to coordinate relief and response efforts in the wake of massive mudslide sparked by Friday’s cloudburst in the Choglumsar area near Leh in Ladakh.

An IL-76 aircraft was dispatched this morning after the Leh airport runway became operational.

It is reported to carry three teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) comprising 140 persons and all required equipment. Tents capable of use at high altitudes are also being dispatched. It is proposed to dispatch as many as 250 of these (with a capacity of 10 -12 persons).

A medical team consisting of seven doctors (and possibly four nurses) has also been dispatched by the same aircraft. Dispatch of some basic telecom equipment and a few personnel was also organised so as to facilitate earliest restoration of BSNL connectivity.

Directions have been issued to ITBP field formation at Leh to extend all necessary assistance to the Civil Administration in relief and rescue operations including supply of pre-fabricated shelters and ready to eat food/ration.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces under the guidance of the Ministry of Defence have mounted massive rescue and relief operations for the victims of the devastating cloudburst in Leh.

Initial reports indicate extensive damage due to flash floods and mudslides. Civilian areas like the bus-stand, BSNL towers, hospitals, the runway of the Leh airport and the ATC towers have been affected.

The road approaches to Leh from Srinagar through Zozilla and from Rohtang Pass have been cut-off due to washing away of bridges by mudslides. 25 Army Jawans are reported missing.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has directed Ministry of Defence to provide all-out rescue and relief assistance to cloudburst victims in Leh.

Defence Minister AK Antony is personally monitoring the operation. Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar is in close touch with the Jammu and Kashmir Administration to ensure coordinated effort for the relief operations.

Twenty-two Columns of Army personnel under the leadership of 14 Corps are busy in relief and rescue operations.

Nearly 400 critically injured people have already been evacuated by the makeshift hospitals by the Army. All the civilian doctors in the Leh District Hospital have been operating from Army Hospital, Leh as the Civil Hospital has been filled with mud.

At least 113 people are killed and over 500 others are reported to be missing in the floods.

Earlier on Friday, the Indian Air Force personnel conducted aerial sorties over the area to assess the damage.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has directed the civil and police administration to undertake relief and rescue work on a war footing.

Earlier on Friday, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said food supplies and other relief materials including medicines would be transported to the affected and stranded people.

“6000 Army personnel, the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police), all are fully acclimatised to the conditions of Leh so they are engaged in rescue operations. We have arranged for rushing supplies to Leh,” said Chidambaram.

“I have instructed the Secretary to get ready food supplies and medicines from the National Disaster Management Authority and rush it. But I think there is some problem about the airport there. As soon as the airport becomes functional we hope to be able to land supplies there,” he added. (ANI)

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