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Armed forces intensify rescue, relief operations

Problem of plenty: A rescue boat is on guard at the Padmavathi Ghat even as a wall of water rises in the Krishna in Vijayawada on Saturday. In the photograph in the middle, floodwaters have entered the Raghavendra Swamy temple at Mantralayam.   | Photo Credit: — Photos: V. Raju, Special Arrangement&R

K.V. Prasad

Boats, personnel have been rushed to the affected regions in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh

NEW DELHI: The armed forces on Saturday intensified search, rescue and relief operations in flood-ravaged Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The IAF has deployed 13 helicopters — 5 MI-8 and 8 Chetaks and they have flown 17 sorties. In addition, 4 AN-32 transport aircraft carried out 13 sorties, airlifting men and materials provided by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Pune, to the affected areas, a Defence Ministry release said.

One AN-32 sortie carrying relief materials to Kurnool, from Arkullaum to Hyderabad, had to be diverted to Karnataka as the road link was washed away in many places. Relief materials, boats and other equipment later reached Kurnool.

Many jawans and boats that were to be moved from Bangalore to Bellary were held up due to heavy rain on the west coast. Navy personnel from Karwar and Goa are engaged in relief operations in Karnataka.

The IAF will also fly IL-76, its largest transport aircraft, from Bhubaneswar to Bangalore/Puttapurthy, to transport 350 men and 50 boats.

An additional 100 men and 30 boats are also being flown in from Pune to Hyderabad. Further, 270 men and 30 boats will be airlifted from Bhatinda and Delhi.

In Vijayawada, the Eastern Naval Command has been put on standby for any eventuality.

10 columns deployed

The Army has deployed 10 columns of its men — two in Kurnool, three in Mahbubnagar, two in Vijayawada, two in Bagalkot and one in Bijapur. One column is on standby in Goa.

The Navy has deployed 12 diving teams with Gemini boats. Of these, two are in Vijayawada, three in Mahbubnagar, two in Kannur, three in Gadag and two in Karwar. The Navy has so far rescued 130 people; 150 people stranded at the Karwar base are being provided food and shelter.