Chennai, December 8: Amidst heavy rains, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out relief and rescue operations in flood-hit Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for over five days, from 02 December to 06 December 2015. Chennai, however, is slowly regaining normalcy, as the flood waters recede. Also, the Tamil Nadu Govt has asked the Indian Air Force (IAF) to conclude its relief operations.
The IAF had responded swiftly to the flood crisis in the Chennai region, commencing operations at dawn on 02 December 2015, even as the rains continued. It mounted rescue and relief operations from Air Force Station Tambaram and Arakkonam. IAF’s transport aircraft were pressed into service, comprising of C-17, C-130, IL-76 and AN-32 and flew 40 sorties.
IAF airlifted 30 National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) teams and five Indian Army columns into the affected areas. These aircraft also evacuated 770 stranded civilian passengers to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi. Also, 281 tons of relief material was airlifted, including suction pumps and boats.
Simultaneously, 13 IAF helicopters were utilised in the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief effort. Chennai’s civil airport at Meenambakkam was rendered inoperative due to floods. The helicopters used the nearby IAF Base at Tambaram. Tambaram was also flooded, but could, however, support helicopter operations.
These 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. 37 tons of relief material such as food and water were air dropped.
Also, the IAF operations ceased by the evening of 06 December 2015. As the flood waters abate, this latest Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief effort of the IAF has brought succour to the lives of residents of the Chennai.