Army launches massive rescue operations in Leh (With Images)

August 6th, 2010 - 8:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) The armed forces have launched a massive rescue and relief operation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region where flash floods triggered by a cloudburst have left nearly 100 dead and caused massive damage to property.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony is personally monitoring the relief operation. He held a series of meetings with senior officials of the ministry, the armed forces and the premier Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) here, an official said Friday.

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed the defence ministry to provide all-out rescue and relief assistance to cloudburst victims in Leh,” the official said.

Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar is in “close touch with the state administration of Jammu and Kashmir to ensure coordinated effort for the relief operations”, he said.

The flash floods have washed away several government buildings and houses.

The dead also include four constables of the state police who were killed during the rescue operation.

Over 6,000 soldiers as well as troopers of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) are involved in the rescue operations in Leh town, situated 3,524 mt above sea level.

“At least 22 columns of army personnel under the leadership of (Leh-based) 14 Corps are busy in relief and rescue operations. Nearly 400 critically injured people have already been evacuated to the makeshift hospitals by the army,” the official said.

Civilian doctors are operating from the army hospital as the building of the only civil hospital in the area has been filled with mud.

The official said “adequate number of aircraft and helicopters are available at Kargil, Chandigarh and Udhampur to move to Leh”.

The runway and air traffic control at the Leh airport suffered mild damage and are expected to be operational by the evening.

The official said enough foodgrain stocks were available at Leh.

“If necessary, essential commodities will be airlifted to Leh. The DRDO is also providing medicines and relief materials. The Indian Air Force has been directed to airlift civilians if needed.”

A medical team along with essential medical supplies has been kept on standby for flying them to Leh after the runway is operationalised.

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