Air force, army set to fight floods

June 20th, 2008 - 3:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, June 20 (IANS) Air force and army personnel are all set to carry out relief operations in flood-hit eastern and northeastern states, officials here said. “Workshops were held at Kalaikunda and Guwahati to familiarise air force and army soldiers with the relief operations and coordination with the civil administration,” defence spokesman R.K. Das said Thursday.

An Operations Coordination Cell (OCC) was established last month at Kalaikunda air base in Midnapore district of West Bengal.

During the workshops, air force officers explained to civil officials the capabilities and limitations of various aircrafts, including Mi-17, Chetak helicopters and AN32 aircraft in bad weather.

District magistrates, sub-divisional officers and other officials responsible for providing relief participated in the two workshops last month.

“In both places, the officials were taken in aircrafts and helicopters to give them a practical experience and show how loading, air drops and rescue operations are done,” Das told IANS by phone from the headquarters of the army’s eastern command in Kolkata.

Officials were also given detailed information about the nature and quality of dry food, pure water, their packaging and selection of other relief materials.

Das said: “over 75,000 kg of food and various relief materials had been dropped over areas in Midnapore district of West Bengal and Balasore district of Orissa during floods last year.”

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