Chennai, Dec 5: NDRF today said it has launched its "most massive" deployment so far as it pressed into service 50 rescue and relief teams with over 200 boats, rescuing over 16,000 people marooned by the unprecedented rains in the southern metropolis and adjoining areas.
NDRF Director General O P Singh, who is camping here since yesterday, said with the induction of 20 fresh combat teams overnight, close to 1,600 personnel in fifty teams are now undertaking the operations in various parts of the state capital here and nearby places.
"This is our most massive deployment in any flood disaster till date. Now we have close to 1,600 personnel with 21 officers and 200 rubberised inflatable boats.
We have rescued over 16,000 people to safer locations till now," Singh said while talking to reporters here. He also reviewed the operations of the force in the Kottupuram area along with senior NDRF and state government officials.
The DG said the force is stepping up its operations each day and now their aim is to provide water and food to as many marooned people as they can. "We are also persuading people to come to safer locations with us," he said, adding, the force is making extensive use of social media to expand its relief and rescue operations.
All our helplines, be it over phone, WhatsApp, Twitter or email, they are working actively and responding to the people in distress, the DG said. With the IMD predicting more rains, he said his teams were determined to reach more and more areas so that relief material is provided before the pouring begins.
Meanwhile, in Delhi a meeting of the Crisis Management Group (CMG) under the chairmanship of Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi was held to review the ongoing operations being undertaken by multiple agencies.
Officials said Mehrishi issued directions to intensify the efforts so that people reeling under these floods for the last few days are helped as much as it can be and are provided with essentail good items like water, milk and snacks.
Representatives of Ministries of Defence, Food, Railways, Agriculture, Health, Department of Telecommunications, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) participated in the CMG meeting.
An NDRF spokesperson said so far, its teams have evacuated 16,325 stranded flood victims, 30 livestock and distributed 19,465 food packets and 16,002 water packets in the affected areas.