The rescue operations in flood-hit Kerala has been going in full swing ever since the inclusion of additional helicopters and boats and the arrival of the armed forces.
Speaking to the media on Sunday at the technical area of the Air Force in Thiruvananthapuram, Air Marshal, B Suresh said that quite a bit of devastation has occurred in many parts of the state and there is heavy loss as well.
He said that the Air Force is doing whatever they have to, to make sure that each and every one is rescued as soon as possible.
â€śEver since the state had requested the centre for help, the centre has asked us to do whatever is necessary to help the state of Kerala,â€ť Suresh told media persons.
About the rescue operations, Suresh said that on Saturday alone, the Air Force made 80 sorties (trips) and airlifted more than 500 people.
â€śTotal relief material that was distributed yesterday amounted to about 29 tonnes, all of which were air dropped,â€ť he added.
He went on to say that food items and medicines are the main relief materials that they carry.
â€śThe Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have been supplying ready to eat food materials from Mysuru. They have been supplying close to 3 to 4 tonnes of food materials,â€ť Suresh said.
The Indian Air Force have specially dedicated separate helicopters only to distribute food items.
â€śThere are 2 helicopters in Thiruvananthapuram and 2 helicopters in Kochi Naval base only to distribute food to camps across the state,â€ť added Suresh.
Volunteers loading the helicopter with food materials at the Air Force Technical area in Thiruvananthapuram.
Most of the rescue and relief operations on Sunday have been in the Thiruvalla and Chengannur area, which according to B Suresh were in a bad condition.
â€śWe also saw that the areas of Pandalam, Mazhukeer, Venmani are all still flooded and we will continue operations there,â€ť he added,
â€śAs of now, the Air Force has used all the fixed wing resources for the rescue and relief operations,â€ť he said.
Suresh also said that the Air Force has also used their latest and the biggest aircraft, C 17 for the operations.
â€śAs of now, the aircrafts that we have used for the rescue and relief operations in the state are the C 17, Russian aircraft IL 76 and the C 130,â€ť said Suresh.
These aircraft have been used to transport officials of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Army, Coast guard, Border Security Force (BSF) - who have been brought to Kerala from various other places like Delhi, Kolkata and Jodhpur.
â€śA total of 26 aircraft of the Air Force have been used for the rescue operations in the state,â€ť said Suresh. He also went on to say that more will be brought in as and when the requirement arises.
The Air Marshal went on to say that all the rescue and relief operations are done in a systematic manner and he credited this to the Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan.
â€śEvery day, the CM chairs two meetings, one in the morning and one in the evening, with all the agencies involved in the operations and very specific instructions are given to everyone,â€ť said Suresh.
Speaking about some of the challenges that the Air Force is facing, Suresh said that the weather conditions are a problem. Along with this, there is a problem with air space management.
â€śIt is a little tricky because a lot of aircrafts are now travelling to and fro for the rescue and relief operations,â€ť he said.
Suresh said that the state government will have a phenomenal amount of work to be done.
â€śFirst they must rescue, then they must provide relief and later rehabilitation should be provided,â€ť Suresh said. He also added that the Air Force will continue to go about with their rescue operations till they have finished their job of rescuing each and everyone.