Scaling up their rescue and relief operations in severely affected parts of the State, defence forces have diverted more ships, aircraft, equipment and personnel with relief materials into Chennai and neighbouring parts.
While Coast Guard ships ICGS Samudra Pahredar, ICGS Vigraha were on their way from Visakhapatnam, carrying supplies and drinking water, two Chetak and an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv were to join the operations on Friday.
In coordination with their State police counterparts, Coast Guard personnel had rescued over 300 marooned persons since Wednesday night. “More than 1,400 food packets were distributed in Saidapet and another 200 packets were distributed near the War Memorial, besides giving medical aid to over 250 persons,” it added.
“One ship is patrolling in the seas to provide assistance to any fishing boat in distress besides providing security cover. Two ships each from Visakhapatnam and Mumbai have sailed to arrive at Chennai with more boats and safety equipment to augment the ongoing relief operations,” Inspector General Satya Prakash Sharma, Regional Commander (Eastern Region) said.
The Navy has code-named the relief operations as ‘Operation MADAD’ (Operation Help) and sent two more ships INS Shakti and INS Sahyadri, with relief material from Visakhapatnam, in addition to INS Airawat, which was earlier despatched.
Navy’s air station INS Rajali at Arakkonam has been made the alternate airport and has been opened for civilian traffic. The Navy has called off its Navy Day celebrations scheduled for Friday. Any request for boat assistance could be made to Commander Tripathi at 09444928581. The Air Force has involved five medium lift helicopters like MI-17, MI-5, five Cheetah helicopters, an Advanced Light Helicopter, besides a Cheetah helicopter which is presently in stand by at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
In addition to the nine columns of its personnel, who were already involved in relief operations, the Army has ordered for shifting troops for augmenting rescue efforts from Secunderabad and Hyderabad.
Nine more teams with one medical team from Secunderabad and Hyderabad were being rushed to Arakkonam C-17 Globemaster aircraft.
Army’s 40 teams and five engineer teams, braved currents of 5-7 knots in few places, were operating in Tambaram, Mudichur, Kotturpuram, Pallavaram, Thiruneermalai, Urapakkam, Manipakkam, T. Nagar, Gudvancheri and in areas adjacent to Adyar river, an Army statement said.
As on Thursday at 5 pm, the Army with its Boat Assault Universal type (BAUT), 30 trucks, rescued over 4,000 stranded people in the severely-affected areas of Chennai.