Chennai, Dec 08: The Indian Air Force (IAF) said on Tuesday that it has officially wound up the rescue and relief operations in Chennai and nearby areas.
IAF said that with Chennai slowly regaining normalcy with flood waters receding, the Tamil Nadu government asked them to conclude the relief operations.
The IAF operations were spread across for five days and were launched amidst heavy rains on December 2.
"We responded swiftly to the flood crisis in the Chennai region, commencing operations even as the rains continued. It mounted rescue and relief operations from Tambaram and Arakkonam," says an IAF spokesperson.
Among the flying assets pressed into operations were C-17, C-130, IL-76 and AN-32 which flew a total of 40 sorties. Thirteen IAF helicopters too were in action, some even undertaking some breathtaking humanitarian missions.
IAF's fixed wing platforms airlifted 30 National Disaster Relief Force teams and five Indian Army Columns into the affected areas.
All together, 770 stranded civilian passengers were evacuated to Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi. Around 281 tons of relief material was airlifted, including suction pumps and boats.
"The IAF helicopters operated under difficult conditions, in rain and in marginal weather. Flying 195 sorties, they airlifted 450 stranded people, including women, infants and senior citizens. Around 37 tons of relief material such as food and water were air dropped," says the spokesperson.
Army shifts gear towards medical assistance
Army says over 70 teams along with 57 BAUTS (medium sized boats) and 16 geminis (small boats) are in operation in co-ordination with the civil administration.
"These teams have rescued more than 19,600 stranded people. Army Medical Teams have provided medical aid in various parts of Chennai to 14,600 people. So far, the Army has distributed over 1,25,000 relief packets provided by the state government and some NGOs besides those from within own resources," says an Army official.
Army's relief teams along with medical teams are also positioned at Cuddalore and Bhuvanagiri.
"The focus has now shifted to relief operations, including distribution of relief material and administration of medical assistance," says the official.