Bad weather hampers Navy’s efforts in Karwar

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: With the situation in Karwar grim following heavy rainfall, the district authorities have sought the help of the Indian Navy, but the severe weather conditions did not permit any of its aircraft for relief operations. Navy sources said if the weather improved it could start using some of its helicopters on Sunday.

The Indian Air Force has set up a disaster management cell to provide relief operations to the affected people. It pressed into service more than 400 personnel. The Air Force, which used six Chetaks and eight Mi-8 helicopters, besides a number of fixed-wing aircraft from the Bangalore headquartered Training Command as well as other operational commands, was able to carry 30 tonnes of relief material to affected areas.

Senior Air Staff Officer, Training Command, Air Marshall K.K. Nohwar, who is spearheading the operations at the Air Force’s disaster management cell, reacting to complaints from some of the marooned people that they could see helicopters flying overhead but were not being rescued, explained that many of the helicopters had been detailed to drop relief material such as water and food packets. “Only some helicopters are equipped to winch marooned people,” he said.

The Indian Army is also part of the operations with an Army column from the Madras Engineering Group and Centre having reached the affected area.