Thiruvananthapuram: The Indian navy on Wednesday called off its 14-day long rescue operations in flood-hit Kerala during which it had evacuated 16,005 people, saying there were no more more requests for evacuation as flood waters were receding in affected areas.
Navy ends rescue operations in Kerala, Kochi airport to open on August 29
"The Southern Naval Command recalled all rescue teams deployed for #OperationMadad as flood waters receded and no more requests for rescue were received," a defence release said. Operation Madad had been launched on August 9.
Besides the navy, personnel of the Army, the Air Force and Coast Guard were also involved in the rescue and relief operations along with the civil administration, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and volunteers, including fishermen.
Army's Southern Command chief Lt Gen DR Soni had on Monday said its personnel would continue to be engaged in the rescue operations in the flood-hit state till the situation stabilised.
Read: Unsung heroes at the helm of rescue, relief efforts in flood-hit Kerala
Defence forces were involved in several daring rescue acts such as the air-lifting of a pregnant woman, winching up of a two-year old which won them widespread appreciation.
Commending their contribution to relief and rescue operations, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said that the government has decided to organise a farewell on August 26 to express its gratitude, reported ANI.
The Navy said that in addition to the rescue of the marooned, ten air sorties amounting to 15 hours of flying were undertaken by various naval aircraft, mainly for air dropping of relief supplies especially food and medicines.
Relief materials including fresh water, provisions, ready to eat meals and medicines which arrived onboard two ships of the Western Naval Command were distributed in various localities in coordination with the civil administration.
The Naval air station, 'Garuda', continued facilitating civil aircraft operations, in addition to the military flying requirements, the release said.
The Naval airport was being used in view of the closure of the Kochi international airport at nearby Nedumbassery in the wake of floods.
Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, and Indigo operated ATR 72 aircraft during the day.
The air station was also extensively used to airlift medical teams, food and medicines as required by the state government so that the relief supplies could quickly reach the needy people, the release said.
Meanwhile, the Kochi International Airport, shut on August 15 due to floods, will now reopen on August 29, it was announced on Wednesday, reported IANS.
Closed on August 15 after it was flooded when various dams in Idukki district opened their sluice gates in the wake of torrential rains, the airport was earlier slated to open on August 26.
Officials said the opening had been put off by three days as 90% of the staff had been affected by Kerala's worst flooding in a century and they needed to report to work.