Navy rescues 500 in flood-hit Kerala

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The Indian Navy rescued nearly 500 people on Friday, continuing with its massive rescue and relief operations in flood-ravaged Kerala where monsoon rains have left a trail of death and destruction across the state. On Friday, 58 rescue teams were deployed at multiple locations as part of Operation Madad launched nine days ago. According to officials it is unprecedented in the history of rescue operations by the Navy as the flood situation continued to remain grim all across the southern state. More than 3,000 people have been rescued since floods hit Kerala 10 days ago, an official spokesperson said. Efforts continued to bring the flood affected people to safety and also provide them essential supplies such as food and water, the spokesperson said. The Southern Naval Command on Friday deployed a total of 58 rescue and diving teams with Gemini boats while 18 more teams were sent to various locations to augment the rescue effort. The spokesperson said 19 teams of rescuers came from the Eastern Naval Command and Western Naval Command. Some 500 rescued people have been accommodated at the T2 hangar inside the naval base, a make-shift relief camp, before shifting them to a relief camp at Fort Kochi. (On Friday), 310 people were rescued by the boats and 176 by aircraft, the spokesperson said. All the assets of (Southern Naval Command) have been committed to the operation. Other commands have provided additional disaster relief items comprising 1,000 raincoats, 1,300 gum boots, 264 lifebuoys and 1,000 life jackets. Twenty five more rescue teams with boats are being readied for deployment as per request from the Kerala government. The spokesperson said 37 teams with one Gemini boat each were deployed at various places in Ernakulam district. One team was at Pizhala island, one at Edapally and three at Perumbavur. North Paravur has 16 teams deployed while 12 are at Aluva and four at Muvattupuzha. In the Thrissur district, the deployment at Chalakkudy was augmented to nine teams, while in Pothanamthitta district, four teams were deployed at Chengannur and one team each at Ayroor and Pollad. One team is positioned at Kottayam. In addition, all air assets available at INS Garuda have been extensively utilised for winching up stranded personnel, transfer of stores, boats, relief material. Air rescue has been carried out at various places of the three badly affected districts – Thrissur, Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta. Aircraft including ALH, Sea King, Chetak and MI 17 (of IAF) were able to rescue people (stranded in flood). Food was airdropped on the roof tops of various houses, churches. A total of 50 air sorties amounting to 80 hours have been flown, said the spokesperson.