Uttarakhand flood: Army, IAF deploy teams, assets as part of rescue mission

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (PTI) The Indian Air Force and the Army on Sunday swang into action as part of a multi-agency rescue operation in Uttarakhand's Chamoli region as it was reeling under a massive flood triggered by a glacier burst at Joshimath, officials said.

They said the Army deployed around 400 personnel in rescue operations besides sending two medical teams to affected areas.

One engineering task force of the Army was also deployed in Ringi village in Joshimath and a control room has been set up in the area, they said.

The glacier burst triggered an avalanche and a deluge in the Alaknanda river system that washed away hydroelectric stations, leaving at least seven people dead and 125 missing who are feared dead.

'The loss of precious lives due to the glacier burst in Chamoli is deeply painful. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Two helicopters from the Armed Forces have been moved from Bareilly to Joshimath for rescue and relief operations,' Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.

'I have been watching the visuals from Chamoli district about the damage caused by the glacier burst. In this difficult time, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people affected by the tragedy. Praying for the well-being of the people of Uttarakhand,' he said.

Officials said the Army has also pressed into service a number of its helicopters to assist the civil administration in rescuing people from flood-affected areas, the officials said.

They said the Indian Air Force has operated C-130 and AN32 transport aircraft to airlift personnel from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to the affected areas.

The officials said three Mi-17 helicopters of the IAF were positioned at Jolly Grant airport to airlift NDRF teams to Joshimath.

They said field hospitals have been set up in affected areas.

Marine Commandos teams of the Indian Navy are also being readied for deployment in rescue missions in the affected areas, the officials said. PTI MPB NSD NSD