After undertaking rescue operation in the flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir, the National Disaster Response Force is now focusing on relief operations and had deployed 'boat hospitals' in water logged areas to provide health care facilities to the stranded people.
"We have changed our role. For the last one week we were undertaking rescue operations but now we have begun doing relief works. We have converted a number of our existing boats to act as floating hospitals or you can call it a 'boat hospital'," NDRF Director General O P Singh told PTI.
Singh, who has been camping in the J&K summer capital for last one week, said a team of doctors and paramedics had been deployed on these boats and they were now visiting those areas where people are stuck and need immediate health care.
An NDRF team from Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu has been deployed for this special task.
As the current situation enters into the ninth or the 10th day, Singh said, it is important to concentrate on providing health facilities to the people, whether in their marooned homes or relief camps.
"We have been able to give out 34 tonnes of relief material and food in the affected areas. We are encountering a number of instances where people do not want to be evacuated but they just want rations, milk, water, medicine, clothes, tents and some ready-to-eat meals. We are doing that now," said Singh.
He is personally manning the make-shift NDRF control room established in the technical area of the airport in Srinagar.
The DG said close to 40 NDRF boats have also suffered "extensive damages" as they had to be manoeuvred in the narrow by-lanes of Kashmir valley.
"About 40 boats have been rendered non-functional. We are left with about 100 boats now but that is not a cause of worry as the Army has dropped in a number of its boats too," he said.
The DG said a number of areas, still inundated in flood waters, pose a challenge to his 22 teams comprising 50 personnel each.
Areas like Lal Chowk, Jawahar Nagar, Tulsi Bagh, Dal Gate, Indira Nagar and Karan Nagar are still logged with high water, he said, adding water has receded from many areas of the city and adjoining areas.
"It is a big relief that water levels have gone down," he said.
Singh said the force, working for mitigating the disaster from day one, had till now rescued close to 47,000 people and was continuously helping the Army and the IAF to undertake more such missions.
The NDRF, he said, has also begun operating five medical centres in various parts of Srinagar.
Image: The army providing first aid to victims of the floods in Kashmir.