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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 10, 2007
IAF conducts flood relief training, awareness camp(Lead:IAF)
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IAF conducts flood relief training, awareness camp(Lead:IAF)

Aiming to optimize the Indian Air Forces flood relief efforts starting from the grassroots level of various districts and tehsils in the state, the South Western Air Command (SWAC) began a series of Flood Relief Training and Awareness Camps starting today from Gandhinagar.

Ahmedabad, May 10 : Aiming to optimize the Indian Air Force's flood relief efforts starting from the grassroots level of various districts and tehsils in the state, the South Western Air Command (SWAC) began a series of 'Flood Relief Training and Awareness Camps' starting today from Gandhinagar.

With a camp to be held tomorrow at Rajkot, similar camps in Baramati and Nashik in Maharashtra, and Jodhpur in Rajastghan will follow. State Disaster Management officials from every district in the State will participate in the camps.

In Gujarat, the initiative together with the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA), was aimed at disseminating information in a phased manner to understand the issues relating to safety of the people on the ground, procedures relating to packing and dispatch of relief packets, and conduct of rescue operations in conjunction with the IAF in flood relief operations.

"Monsoon will be normal. We don't know if there are the chances of floods in Gujarat this year or not. Nobody can tell this exactly. We are assuming that there will be need for the disaster management operation and for that we are preparing ourselves," said Rajesh Kishor, Commissioner of Relief.

As a routine, the IAF is called upon on several occasions to provide relief and succour at various places all across the country. The unprecedented flood during last two years in Gujarat is a case in point. Last year in Gujarat alone, SWAC helicopters airlifted 244 tons of relief material and rescued 560 people of which 420 were alone winched up to safety.

While IAF helicopters are national resources, there is a need to utilize them optimally during relief operations to derive maximum benefit. The awareness camps by the IAF include practical demonstration of winching on a Mi-8 helicopter; an operation involving pulling into the hovering helicopter stranded personnel from places where landing is not possible.

"We are explaining to the disaster management personnel that what all we can do to provide relief at the time of the floods. We are explaining to the state officers that what are the capabilities and the limitations of our officials," said Pankaj Baisnoi, an officer of the Indian Air Force.

It was observed during the last flood relief operations that lack of knowledge and the fear of being displaced were among the reasons why people in distress refused to be rescued even as IAF Pilots painstakingly reached locations in most adverse conditions, where they were stranded. It is in this light that all concerned agencies on ground need to be aware of its capabilities and limitations.

Life-saving missions are time bound due to adverse factors such as bad weather, fading light conditions, rising water levels etc. In these circumstances accurate knowledge of the location of the people in distress becomes critical to the mission's success.


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