At least five teams of the eighth battalion of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were dispatched for search and rescue operations in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, which was hit by flash floods when a portion of a glacier broke off in the Tapovan area on Sunday morning. The eighth battalion is based at Govindpuram in Ghaziabad; more teams have been asked to remain on standby.
A major relief and rescue effort is on in Chamoli where a flood was triggered in river Dhauliganga after the glacier burst. The NDRF’s officials from the eighth battalion said that one of their teams, comprising about 40 to 45 members and a dog squad, was initially rushed from their regional response centre in Dehradun, while the second team departed Sunday afternoon from Ghaziabad.
“This team was sent by road in vehicles while three teams were airlifted from the Hindon airbase. In all, five teams were pressed into service and more teams, which include those from other NDRF battalions, have been asked to remain on standby, to be pressed into service as and when the need arises,” said PK Tiwary, commandant of the eighth battalion.
Teams of NDRF are equipped with sophisticated equipment and teams of specialised canines which help in search and rescue.
“The teams are equipped with about 310 sophisticated equipment which are used during floods, building collapses and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear emergencies. Since a flash flood has occurred, we will also be using our team of divers and equipment such as sonars and boats which will be used for detection and rescue. Our teams have also taken away relief material for people affected,” Tiwary added.
The eighth battalion were also a part of search and rescue operations carried out during the 2013 flash floods that had hit Uttarakhand.
Sunday’s disaster has endangered the lives of the thousands of people living along the riverbanks, besides causing massive destruction. An alert has also been sounded by authorities in Uttarakhand in several districts including Pauri, Tehri, Rudraprayag, Haridwar and Dehradun.
Teams of the Indo Tibetan Border Police were also rushed to the site near Raini village.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath tweeted that the state government is standing with the Uttarakhand government for any help or assistance.
“The situation of water level in areas along the river Ganga is being constantly monitored in the state. In case there is a rise in water levels, people near the banks will be shifted, as the situation demands. Directions have been issued for relief and rescue,” the office of the CM said in a tweet.
The UP police tweeted, “We are in touch with our counterparts. Border districts of Uttarakhand have been alerted. NDRF, SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) & flood company of the PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary) have been instructed to be on highest alert. Evacuation of people shall be done wherever required.”