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Army intensifies rescue efforts in flood-hit Bihar

September 01, 2008 14:59 IST

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To intensify the ongoing rescue work in Bihar's flood affected areas, the army on Monday rushed 16 additional columns comprising about 2,000 men to join the relief efforts.

Commander of the Army's Lucknow-based Central Command Lt Gen H S Panag visited some of the flood-hit areas and supervised the operations.

"Another 16 columns of about 2,000 men have been sent to areas affected by the floods in River Kosi. Gen Panag too is currently on a visit there," Army sources in Delhi [Images] told PTI.

The army had till Sunday sent about 21 columns (about 2,500 men) to Bihar to take care of the relief work. With the additional columns joining them, the strength of army personnel involved in the rescue and relief operations grew to 37 columns consisting of about 4,500 personnel.

The army has also pressed into service six helicopters -- four Cheetahs and two Dhruvs -- for rescuing people marooned in areas inaccessible by road or by boat.

Apart from 21 medical teams already working in the flooded areas, the army's engineers have set up 14 water points and sent 500 tents that could accommodate 20 people each.

It has also established a 24-hour control room to coordinate its operations at the Patna airport. Two other control centres have also been activated at Bihta and Purnea airstrips.

Three command and control nodes, each headed by a brigadier, have been set up to coordinate logistics and rescue operations. While the one at Danapur was taking care of relief logistics like receiving materials and distributing them, those at Khagadia and Katihar were coordinating the rescue operations.

All essential communication networks in the affected areas, including satellite phone connections, have been established with help from Army's Signals units.

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