Bangalore, June 21: Survivors of Uttarakhand flash floods believe that it was by the grace of prabhu Kedarnath that they are still alive and breathing, but a lot of them would defer saying that they owe their lives to the sheer courage, preseverence and the will power of the ITBP, IAF and the army soldiers. Whenever there is a calamity, it is either the survivor or the dead or for that matter the government that steal the show. Little do we remember the contribution of those who work hard to close the gap between the living and the dead. The very first people to come to ones' rescue during emergency are the soldiers of India-the real heroes.
Working under immense political and service pressures, these soldiers haven't yet lost their calm in such a crisis situation. However, many have lost their lives while daving others.
Rescue operations in bad weather conditions and equally adverse geographical location are impossible. But, 'impossible' is not something that our soldiers know of. Braving the water and the landslides, they have managed to rescue 35,000 people. Although the 'missing' numbers and those dead seem to be constant with every passing day, our bravehearts are still hopeful.
"We do this for the country. Saving each life is like winning a medallion for us. These people are like our own family," said one of the soldiers.
It took close to 90 sorties and over 10,000 army troops to rescue the numbers we have till now; set aside the incessant service provided by the ITBP personnel.
"Our priority is to take out the children and women first by helicopter. We hope to rescue all the living and then start the scavenging task," said Ajay Chadha, chief of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police when asked about their plan of action.
While one group of army officials can be seen busy evacuating the stranded from the affected areas, there were others who serve at the base camps, providing food, medicine and taking care of the ailing. The scene in a relief camp in Hemkund in Chamoli district was both heart-warming and a matter of pride. One could see the army men carrying children and counselling the victims, assuring them of their safety.
One could also see a few of them turn counsellors and crisis managers. "The most important thing that we have to keep in mind is that survivors of natural calamities are scared and berieved. Naturally, they would not be in a state of mind to stay calm. Keeping them calm and making them understand what we want them to do to survive becomes difficult. We need a lot of patience in many cases," said an army soldier.
Per the security and rescue officials, among the most affected areas are Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Kedarnath, and Govindghat. 43 army and IAF choppers have pressed to work and the air rescue fleet has also been increased for a speedy rescue operation. 13 aircrafts, apart from choppers have been deployed for further relief work.
"I know the true value of life now. Probably, this was why I had come for a pilgrimage here. I know we are made for each other and the undeterred service of the soldiers prove that. For me, they are my Shiva and Rudra-my God", said Sharmila, a survivor.