Tonnes of relief materials await to be moved out of INS Rajali

Written by: OneIndia Defence Desk

Chennai, Dec 3: Indian Navy swung into action and activated all its resources at its Naval Air Station INS Rajali, near Arakkonam, towards rescue and relief work in the flooded city of Chennai.

Navy Spokesperson Capt D K Sharma told OneIndia on Thursday early morning that Indian Navy's C-17s have landed with tonnes of relief material last night.

Chennai Floods

"Already two confirmed landings last night and there could have been more flights from Bhuvaneswar-Rajali late night. INS Rajali is kept on a war-footing mode and we are ready with all possible help," Capt Sharma said.

He said the NDRF personnel have all landed with rescue and relief material. Also, last night, an A-320 of Air India did a trial landing at INS Rajali.

"The ladders are all in place. We have undertaken an assessment on how people can be brought in and moved to safer places," Capt Sharma said.

Challenged galore for the rescue team

While INS Rajali is ready with food, water and other relief materials, it is now left to the city administrators to quickly put a plan to distribute them to people.

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"Normally five per cent of materials go as a waste during air-dropping mission. Now, with the entire city in water, we are not sure whether dropping food and relief material is a good idea. Also, all roads are blocked and the state government should device means to get the relief materials out," says and NDRF official, not wanting to be quoted.

The official said that buses and other vehicles should be arranged to get the material out of INS Rajali at the earliest.

"For the government and relief agencies the challenges are many. The civil aviation authorities should now get their flights land at Rajali and help those who need to fly out of city," the official added.

At INS Rajali, a naval official said the impact of rain is less, while the runway remains all wet.

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"We have mechanisms to keep the runways safe. We only hope that some solution will be in sight by morning so that water and food reaches people. Moving out these could be a challenge," he added.

Meanwhile, Coast Guard says it has shifted more than 150 marooned people from flooded areas last night to safer places.

"Our team was in action at Saidapet, near CSI St Thomas Church and Kotturpuram areas last night. A joint team of Coast Guard and police personnel have been formed for relief operations. ICG Ships provided hot food packets to over 1000 stranded people. We have requested for additional helicopters from other regions to augment our efforts today," says an official.

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