More disasters waiting to happen in Uttarakhand: IAF officer

Posted By: PTI
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New Delhi, Nov 18: More disasters are waiting to happen in the Uttarakhand region and relief materials should be kept at vantage points in all readiness on a regular basis, a senior IAF officer, who played a key role in search, rescue and relief operations there, said today.

The massive disaster in June was primarily caused by the melting of a massive glacial lake above Kedarnath and rise in water levels due to heavy and incessant rains. The lake exploded like a dam burst, bringing down boulders, slush and gushing water that created havoc all across, destroying everything on the way.

Glacial burst led to Uttarakhand disaster.There are many such water bodies here.

On June 16-17 when the disaster struck, several hundreds were killed and thousands went missing, while over a lakh tourists and local residents remained trapped for days. This narrative was given by Air Vice Marshal SRK Nair who was the overall IAF coordinator of 'Op Rahat' in Uttarakhand.

"Several more such glacial lakes exist in the entire region and there are real chances of recurrence of such disasters," he warned, stressing the need for storing relief materials, including fuel for relief helicopters, at vantage points ready to meet any exigency at any time.

Speaking at the inaugural session of an international seminar 'Helipower India' here, Nair stressed the need for permanent measures to meet such exigencies, especially in areas like Uttarakhand.

The National Institute of Disaster Management, in one of its first reports on the Uttarakhand floods, has also blamed "climatic conditions combined with haphazard human intervention" in the hills for the disaster, specifically referring to massive denuding and deforestation in the area.

The seminar, which has aviators, military persons and technical experts as speakers, focussed on the growing demands of both armed and paramilitary forces for more choppers. The event came as the forces proposed the induction of next-generation attack helicopters -- the light combat helicopters, weaponised version of Dhruv-Rudra, medium-heavy choppers and light observation helicopters.

Air Vice Marshal K M Sridharan, President of Rotary Wing Society of India, which is organising the event, said with these inductions, "we must develop sound doctrines with organisations capable of performing required missions" in order to capitalise on such quality equipment.


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