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Army's daring rescue ops in flood-hit Gujarat, Rajasthan

Source: PTI
August 02, 2015 18:10 IST
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A mother and her baby are rescued from a flood-hit village. Photograph: Indian Army

From restoring railway tracks to rescuing a drowning mother and her baby, and even a dog, the Indian Army and air force officers have come handy in the flood-hit areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Troops of Southern Command and South Western Command have been involved in rescue operations in flood-affected areas of Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan.

"They have evacuated more than 1,000 people to safer area and provided relief items such as food, drinking water and medicines and medical cover to over 2,400 people. A total of 28 relief teams, seven medical teams and seven ETFs (engineer task forces) were deployed," army sources said.

Soldiers help stranded villagers to get to higher ground. Photograph: Indian Army  

The army flood relief columns are located in Banaskantha and Bhuj in Gujarat, and Chirpatiya, Dhanera and Sanchor in Rajasthan. Of the many stories of bravery that have come out, the act of Havaldar Yousouf stands out as he rescued a drowning mother and her baby in Shervo village, situated approximately 50 km north of Bhuj in Kutch district of Gujarat.

Due to heavy rains and floods in the region from July 27 to July 30, the lone connecting road to Shervo from Hudco village was severely damaged and hence all communication and supplies were cut off.

Army officers rescue villagers as water levels rise in Gujarat villages. Photograph: Indian Army

A team from the army as well as the Gujarat police was tasked with relief and evacuation on July 31. The evacuation began in the afternoon and about 200 villagers including 17 infants and 32 children had to be evacuated on foot.

The nearest village was 13 km away with several cuts on the road and fast flowing water on either side. Villagers were made to cross these cuts with the help of a rope and a human chain formed by the troops against the flow of water. On one such cut, a woman, along with an infant, lost her balance and fell.

Am army officer helps restore railway tracks damaged by the floods. Photograph: Indian Army 

"Havaldar Yousouf was near to the incident and spotted the mishap immediately. He showed extreme courage and jumped into the water. He swam across to the woman and grabbed the infant in order to keep him above the surface of the water.

"He led the woman to the rope and carried the infant to safety against the fast flowing water himself. The woman and her child eventually made their way out to safety...," the sources said.

Soldiers wade through water to reach out to stranded villagers. Photograph: Indian Army

Another such touching moment was also in Shervo when gunner Sudhir Yadav spotted a dog in deep waters struggling for survival. "An animal lover by nature, gunner Sudhir insisted that he would carry the struggling dog along with him in his hands. He decided to take the dog along and ended up carrying it for 7 km through the flooded areas to safety," the sources said.

The Indian Air Force too came to the rescue of the flood affected people with the force doing multiple sorties for flying people to safer areas and dropping thousands of food packets.

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