U'khand flood: 'Hang in there, do not lose hope', says IAF chief

New Delhi, June 24 (ANI): Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, on Monday said the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters rotors will not stop churning till there is an improvement in the weather condition.

"Our Helicopter rotors will not stop churning till such time we get each one of you out, do not lose hope and hang in there," said Air Chief Marshal Browne, who conveyed this message by the IAF to all those stranded in the Uttrakhand region and who need to be airlifted/ evacuated.

With the IAF committing about 45 aircraft to 'Op Rahat', C 130 J today undertook a weather sortie over flood affected areas in the Uttarakhand region during early morning hours for weather update/ analysis for undertaking helicopters operations in the region.

Bad weather prevails in all sectors except- Dharasu- Harsil axis where its cloudy but helicopter operations have commenced. Weather clearance is expected later in the day.

Since today morning till 1230 h, six MLH (Mi17 IV/ Mi17V5) and one ALH operating at Dharasu - Harsil axis have flown more than 52 sorties and airlifted 480 pilgrims.

In one of the biggest Helilift Operations undertaken, the IAF since June 17 has airlifted a total of about 10,731 persons flying about 1163 sorties and dropping/landing about 1,84,262 kg of relief material and equipment.

Over 80,000 people are taken to safer places in Uttarakhand so far as 20 to 22,000 people are still stranded in remote locations.

Military helicopters have been grounded because of bad weather, suspending the evacuation by air of those still stranded, many without food and water, in remote areas of the state.

Former Union Home Secretary VK Duggal, who has been appointed by the Centre, to look after the coordination among agencies involved in relief and rescue operations has expressed satisfaction over the evacuation operation conducted by the Army, ITBP and NDRF.

Duggal told the media in Dehradun that operational issues have been discussed with officials and if any additional help will be required, it will be raised before the Centre. (ANI)

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