With Indian Air Force (IAF) carrying out rescue operations in the flood-affected areas of Karnataka, Air Marshal S K Ghotia, VSM, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command of IAF on Tuesday visited the Airmen Training School here to review the tasks taken up by the IAF personnel.
While appreciating the IAF for carrying out humtarian tasks, Ghotia said during a press conference at IAF headquarters, "We do face difficulties in carrying out rescue missions but our pilots are efficient and are very well-trained to do these humtarian tasks and we are happy to do it."
The Air Marshal further informed that four helicopters were deployed in the rescue operation since August 8. As of today, the Air force has undertaken more than 55 missions and rescued more than 550 people of which some were under a very critical and precarious situation.
"The work is going on in coordination with the State and District authorities and State Disaster Relief Commissioner is giving the coordinates and locations of the people from where they need to be evacuated. We are here to help the people of Karnataka and the operations are being conducted in a very smooth and professional manner," he added.
"For instance, a National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) personnel was stuck in a tree after the boat he was in capsized, we then launched a helicopter to help that single person and saved him, "he further said.
The Air force is dropping food packets, water packets wherever necessary and about 1000 tonnes of relief material have been dropped, so far.
Currently, operations are underway in Hampi and around 200 people are being rescued and being taken to Vijayanagar. The Air force has appointed the base commander of Belagavi Air Force camp as the task force commander.
The Air Force is working in coordination with the District Collectors and police administration. They have set up operation rooms in their offices and after discussing with them, the helicopters are assigned to carry out relief operation.
"We have a helicopter MI 17 V5, which is capable of performing at night, but so far we didn't have to use it because we finished all the operation in the daylight. There are five helicopters at the spot including two MI 17, one each of Chetak, ALH and MI 17 V5," Ghotia said.
He also visited the Air Force Station to assess the impact of heavy rainfall on training facilities and interacted with the Station Personnel who were affected due to flooding of their homes.
The Air Marshal assured that no effort will be spared in extending assistance to civil authorities and that the flood relief operations will continue till the waters recede and normalcy is returned.
Floods in Karnataka have claimed the lives of 48 people while 12 others are missing, official data said on Tuesday.
The maximum number of deaths have occurred in Belagavi district where 13 people have been killed while four others are missing. A total of 4,08,322 people have been rescued from the district and evacuated to safer places, the data showed.
As many as 1,224 relief camps are currently operational in the state with 3,93,956 people taking shelter in them.
The floods have also resulted in heavy loss of livestock with 767 mals reported dead.
According to the Meteorological Centre here, heavy rain is likely to occur in all districts of Coastal Karnataka and in Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Kodagu and Shivamogga districts of South Interior Karnataka.
As per the India Meteorological Department, rainfall activity over Kerala, Karnataka, Konkan and Goa is likely to decrease significantly from August 15 onwards.
( With inputs from ANI )