With large parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka reeling under extensive flooding of both urban and rural areas caused by incessant rains and consequent overflowing of riverbanks and dams over the last few days, the Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy has mobilised considerable resources to provide assistance to State and District administrations of affected areas.
Despite adverse weather conditions and widespread inundation in affected areas, a total of 14 rescue teams of the Western Naval Command, including five teams from Goa Naval Area, have been operating in Kolhapur, Belgaum and Uttar Kannada districts of Maharashtra and Karnataka respectively since August 5, 2019. An additional five rescue teams are presently enroute for deployment to the Sangli district today from Mumbai. The teams have been deployed using Indian Navy Dornier aircraft and ALH helicopters as well as the Indian Air Force MI-17 helicopters from Goa, Mumbai and Pune. Some teams had even proceeded by road when flying operations could not be undertaken. The naval rescue teams are equipped with Gemini rubber boats, loud hailers, first aid kits, life jackets and life buoys. Some rescue teams also include specialist Naval Divers and diving equipment. Once at site, the rescue teams have evacuated stranded personnel to safety.
Chikhli village, Shivaji bridge at Kolhapur were some of the worst affected areas where the naval teams rescued over 240 men, women and children on August 7, 2019 and the operations continued throughout the day on August 8, 2019 as well. Several hundreds more have been rescued from Chikhli to safer areas at Sontali and Kolhapur. Some teams also operated in Aare village, Balinga Village and Rajapurwadi on August 8, 2019.
In Karnataka, the Karwar Naval Area deployed a rescue team in response to a request for assistance from the SP Uttara Kannada to rescue people stranded near Kadra Dam, Kaiga on August 6, 2019. The team remained on task till midnight and was able to evacuate 500 people to safety on the same day. On August 7, 2019, the rescue team proceeded to Hinduwada in Malapur area and evacuated many more people giving priority to women, children and critically ill patients to safer areas. Another team was deployed to Kovadu village in Belgaum district. A total of 869 people have been moved to safety in Karnataka.
The Naval Teams have been warmly welcomed wherever they have gone with the locals even offering prayers for the successful completion of the rescue efforts.