Gujarat continues to reel under the pressure of torrential rains that have not only claimed over 218 lives but also displaced and affected the livelihood of over 4.5 lakh people in the state. But in this face of disaster, the Indian Army, Air Force, and National Disaster Response Forces (NDRF) in association with NGOs and civilians are trying to restore balance in the flood-hit state.
Of the 39,000 people evacuated and shifted to safer places and 11,400 rescued last week, most have returned to their villages where the administration is now focused on providing food and health facilities to prevent the outbreak of water-borne diseases.
Here are nine rescue and relief operations during the Gujarat floods that prove humanity will always triumph in the face of danger:
When the Indian Air Force airlifted 17-year-old Bheema who was suffering from multiple fractures:
The IAF rescued Bheema from Bismillahgarh village in the worst-hit Patan district. He was suffering from multiple fractures in his lower body. The MI-17V5 helicopter crew was under pressure as the day was nearing its end and the boy had to be evacuated using a ‘cradle’. They skillfully lowered the cradle as the locals on the ground helped place Bheema into it, with his father for support. They were rescued and taken to the Thara medical camp.
When the Army rescued 35 stranded people in Kuda village:
The Golden Katar Division personnel rescued 35 civilians from flood-hit Kuda village in Surendranagar district and distributed food and medicines to aid the flood victims. Several columns of troops with specialised equipment and trained manpower were mobilised for the relief work, which included the Engineer Task Force and a medical team.
When the IAF rescued a kidney patient in flood-hit Abiyana village:
The IAF Cheetah chopper rescued and airlifted a kidney patient in need of dialysis from the rooftop of a house in Abiyana village of Patan district. The crew made a bull’s-eye assessment of the situation and lowered the chopper to rest it on the boundary wall of the rooftop. The patient was lifted over the wall and pulled aboard with the help of his family members, and flown to Patan University Helipad where an ambulance waited.
When the NDRF team rescued 59 people and their cattle from Ganol village:
The National Disaster Response Force team rescued 59 people including 10 women and 15 children from Ganol village in Dholka district of Ahmedabad. As the team tried to rescue the stranded people, they refused to cooperate unless their cattle including goats and buffaloes were rescued. Bringing the buffalo in the boat was not possible so one rescue member brought the buffalo out of the water through a safe road. The team also rescued about six goats from the village flooded due to Sabarmati River.
Man atop electric pole rescued by IAF chopper in flood-hit Gujarat:
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A man awaited help atop an electric pole to avoid being washed away by the floodwaters in Dhanera Tehsil. An IAF chopper came to his rescue, dropped a rope for him to climb and took him aboard the helicopter.
IAF rescued pregnant woman, newborn twins with mother:
The IAF Chetak helicopter rescued a mother with her newborn twins from Nana Matra village in Rajkot and flew them to safety to Jasdan helipad where a medical team awaited. The helicopter then returned to pick up another pregnant woman who was bleeding. She was flown across the river to a medical team with an ambulance.
When NGOs offered help for flood victims:
The Ahmedabad Collector’s office, NGOs, student and private organisations reached out to flood affected people and provided them with food packets, clothes, and tarpaulins. NGOs sent dry food packets containing fulwadi, gathiya, boondi and biscuits and 1,000 kits with wheat, rice, dal, spices etc. The local authorities started a community kitchen in Maliya, Morbi, and NGOs mobilised tractors to move essential supplies. They also used social media to arrange funds.
When 35 students trapped in an overturned school bus were rescued by local villagers:
35 students from a private school had a close shave after their bus tilted and was left stranded while crossing a flooded causeway near Morbi district’s Rajpar village. They were rescued by local villagers who had gathered on either bank of the stream as the bus driver abandoned the vehicle and ran away. All of them escaped unhurt.
When a leopard was also rescued in addition to an elderly couple:
The NDRF rescued an elderly couple from Khambhlav village in Surendranagar district where they were stuck for more than 24 hours. The unabated rains also affected the wildlife in the forests of Amreli district. A leopard, while trying to escape the floodwaters, got stuck between meshed wires near a farm. It was rescued by the forest department and was taken to an animal rescue centre.