February 2005 News

IAFs Biggest Day-night Op Continue In J&K, Thousands Airlifted

21 February 2005

Jammu: IAF's biggest peace-time day-night rescue and relief operations continued with ferrying of over 1700 people, including 48 foreign tourists, dropping of food for those trapped in Jawahar Tunnel and other areas besides airlifting 50 tonnes of essentials in snow-bound Kashmir valley, which remained cut off for 5th day today. 'Indian Air Force, which has put its all stations in northern India on high alert and launched biggest ever day-night rescue and relief operation in snow-hit Jammu and Kashmir since yesterday morning, has susccessfully conducted its night-long operations carrying over men and material to Kashmir, Udhampur-based Station Commander, group Captain Manavandera Singh told PTI. 'In the first-ever massive night relief operation last night, we had several sorties to ferry men and material to Kashmir,' he said. So far, over 1700 people have been ferried from one place to another and 50 tonnes of essential supplies including medicines, food grains, ration, vegitables, blankets and oil and petroleum products were delivered in Kashmir valley and other places till 11 a.m. today, he said. A total of 24,000 troops and civilians including 20,200 army troops, 3000 personnel of BSF and other forces and over 900 civilians have been ferried to safer places, he said. IAF has pressed into services nine choppers, three Il-76s and four AN-32s have been pressed into the operations to airlift troops, drop supplies to snow-hit areas in Kashmir, Ladakh and Jammu. Airforce chopers flew over Jawahar tunnel and dropped packets of ready-to-eat food for over 300 trapped security personnel this morning, defence officials said. Similar packets were dropped at Pinjari in Doda and Poonch avalanche-hit areas in Jammu division today, they said adding more food and essential items were being dropped to various cut-off mountainous areas in Jammu division. The operation would continue throughout the night today also till the weather permits, Capt. Singh said. 'This is the biggest-ever operation of IAF in J&K so far,' he said adding additional choppers have been kept ready for the request of state government to carry out massive rescue operation from today. 'Our choppers would fly over various avalanche-hit areas, snow-bound terrains to air drop essential commodities to the people for today,' they said. 'We are expecting a list of such areas from the government soon and operation would be launched forth with,' he added.


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