SWAC conducts flood relief training at Gandhinagar

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Ahmedabad, Jul 16 (UNI) The South Western Air Command (SWAC) today conducted ''Flood Relief Training and Awareness Camps'' at Gandhinagar.

The awareness camps by the Indian Air Force (IAF) included practical demonstration of winching on an Mi-8 helicopter -- an operation involving pulling of stranded people into the hovering helicopter, from places where landing is not possible.

The demonstration was held keeping in view the IAF had invariably been called upon each year to render ''Air Rescue and Relief Effort'' by various state governments to provide succor to affected areas during calamities as floods.

Wing Commander Satish Menon said here it was observed that during the flood relief operations in the preceding years, lack of knowledge and the fear of being displaced were among the reasons why people in distress refused to be rescued, even as IAF pilots painstakingly reached location in most adverse conditions, where they were stranded.

He said in this background a series of flood relief training and awareness camps were being conducted at Air Force Station Jamnagar yesterday and today at Gandhinagar. A similar camp is being organized tomorrow at Jodhpur in Rajasthan. All concerned agencies on ground need to be aware of its capabilities and limitations of such rescue missions. The State Disaster Management officials from every district in the state will participate in the camps.

The initiative of the IAF together with the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) was aimed at disseminating information in a phased manner to understand the issues relating to safety of the people on the ground, procedures relating to packing and dispatch of relief packets and conduct of joint rescue operations during flood relief operations.

In 2006 in Gujarat alone, SWAC helicopters airlifted 244 tons of relief material and rescued 560 people, of which 420 were winched.

In 2007, SWAC undertook 20 sorties airlifting three tons of relief material and rescued 65 people, out of which 44 were winched to safety, Wg Cmmdr Menon added.

UNI PVN SSS RL KN1900

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