True to its tradition of service before self, Indian Army during the Kerala floods, selflessly provided the much needed relief
When the disaster struck the God own Country Kerala in the second week of August, the state government, in this moment of distress and disaster, called the Centre for help. Responding to the call, Government of India sent out armed forces and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to help the state machinery. Going beyond their call of duty and risking their life and stretching the equipment to their operational limits, working round the clock ignoring exhaustion, Indian men and women in uniform performed as if they were god sent saviour of Kerala, winning heart of all and sundry along the way.
In the flood where Kerala lost around 450 people, Indian Army entered into the relief work on August 9, the very same day when it received the request for assistance. It all began on August 8, when many parts of the state received over 1,000 mm of rain which forced the authorities to open floodgates of over 30 dams in the state. The massive flow of water in the rivers coupled with the massive downpour led to rivers breaking their banks and ravaging everything which came in its way. Nothing could stop rivers on the rampage. Such was the flow of water even small rivulet became harbingers of death and destruction.
Army men were seen rescuing stranded people through boats, carrying sick, injured and old on stretchers in deep waters and when not rescuing were seen helping state authorities restoring essential services. In the kind of flood that the state is witnessing hospitals themselves become a victim, instead of giving relief, it becomes the focus of relief operation as they host people who needs most support. In one such incidence, on August 21, Captain Rishav Jamwal of 13 Garhwal Rifles rescued a critical kidney patient and a 20 day old baby from Sree Narayan hospital, Ernakulam. These are not just one off acts but just few example of many such acts.
On September 21, Engineer Task Force from College of Military Engineering led by Major Ravishankar repaired Water Treatment Plant Aluva which enabled restoration of water supply to almost 3,00,000 citizens. Indian Army also restored connectivity through temporary bridges. It has made 13 temporary bridges to reconnect 38 remote areas. Army deployed 10 floods relief columns, each having an approximate strength of 65 personnels, in ten districts of Kerala.
Similarly, 10 Engineer Task Force, each having an approximate strength of 40 personnel from Jodhpur, Bhopal, Pune, Bengaluru and Secunderabad, and total of 110 different boats for rescue and relief were pressed into action. It restored connectivity at 49 locations, cleared 22 landslides and constructed 18 temporary bridges. It also distributed over 3.5 tonnes of relief material and deployed six medical teams at Thrissur, Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta districts.