Chandigarh, May 18 (UNI) Within three days after the worst quake in three decades hit China, India has rushed relief to the quake affected areas.
Relief material consisting of water, tents and medical supplies, including first aid kits was airlifted from New Delhi yesterday in an IL-76 aircraft of the IAF in the first ever relief operation to China.
An estimated 50,000 people were feared dead in the devastating earthquake in southwest China, as hopes of finding survivors faded, with thousands still buried under the debris.
''The Indian Air Force (TAF) has tasked the city-based 12 Wing, Air Force, to take over the task of sending two consignments of approximately 30 tons each of supplies to the earthquake effected areas of China,'' Air Commodore S R K Nair, Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Chandigarh stated here today.
The relief flight to China was undertaken by 25 Squadron, which is commanded by Group Captain Xavier Israel. The task was undertaken with the highest standards of professionalism for which the IAF is known.
12 Wing Air Force, popularly known as the ''Gateway to the North'', is famous for its airlift assets, flying day in and day out, providing succour to the armed forces and the civilians based in Jammu&Kashmir 25 Squadron Air Force, known as the ''The Himalayan Eagles'', in its 46 years of existence has, on numerous occasions, in the past lived up to its impeccable record of providing timely assistance in case, of both national and international calamities.
The IAF has previously undertaken relief operations to Armenia, Iran, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Pakistan and USA and very recently to Myanmar (Burma). Evacuation of stranded people has also been carried out on a large scale from Yemen, Gulf region (prior to Gulf War), Srinagar valley and Leh in the past.
Besides ensuring safety of borders of our country, the armed forces are also mandated to assist civil authorities for maintenance of law and order as well as for rescue and relief operations during natural calamities. Besides providing actual relief, the armed forces continue to maintain regular liaison with the civil authorities to refine contingency planning and ensure timely response.
UNI HS SBC KP1707