With Cyclonic storm “Vayu” expected to hit Gujarat, the Army has deployed 10 columns in the coastal areas of the state on Wednesday night. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has also deployed helicopters at nodal points in the state for relief and rescue operations and stationed a “highly mobile radar” at state capital Gandhinagar.
The columns have asked to be placed at all district headquarters of Jamnagar, Gir Somnath, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Junagadh, Porbandar, Morbi, Bhavnagar, Amerli and Rajkot by 12 pm on Thursday. The deployment has been done after requisition by the Gujarat government, stated an official release.
The Army has also kept 24 columns on standby and is ready to carry out any rescue and relief operations. Each column has strength of about 70 persons from Infantry/Artillery, Signal, Engineers and Army Medical Corps. These columns are self sustainable with its inherent medical team and it encompasses various engineer stores including inflatable boats to be deployed at various places depending on the location which is directed by the central control room monitoring the flood relief during emergency. State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) has given formal requisition for Army to take over responsibilities for any eventualties.
Meanwhile, the South Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force (IAF) has positioned Medium Lift Helicopters and Light Utility helicopters at nodal points in Gujarat. These helicopters are equipped to undertake disaster relief operations. Highly mobile deployable Radar has been placed at a high state of readiness at Gandhinagar.
The radar along with its own satellite communication system can be deployed at remote location for channelizing helicopter operations towards relief and evacuation as well as establishing communication with control centers. Mobile communication vehicles have also been positioned at nodal points Communication support groups have also been formulated at air bases in Gujarat to handle potential contingencies.
Air Marshal HS Arora AVSM ADC, Air Officer Commanding in Chief South Western Air Command reviewed the progress of preparations Wednesday afternoon. Also, a dedicated Disaster Management Cell has been formed at HQ SWAC to closely monitor the progress of Vayu and associated activities.