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Chennai floods: Over hundred people rescued; pregnant woman airlifted

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Chennai: Rescue and relief operations continued in full swing here with over a hundred people taken to safety by teams of Army, IAF and NDRF, including a seven-month pregnant woman who was airlifted on Thursday from one of the worst-affected areas in the flooded city.

“We sent about 120 rescued people to Delhi carried by a C-130J (Super Hercules) this morning and another 20 have been sent to Arakonnam, from where they will fly out in different aircraft,” a senior IAF official said.

Among those evacuated were 50 stranded students from SRM University.

With heavy rains lashing the capital city, especially in the last three days, several areas are inundated, with water reaching up to almost second storey in certain areas.

“We are fully prepared to tackle this situation and carrying out regular sorties. We performed several relief and recce sorties today, as we have to save those who are badly stranded as well as give food items to those who are stuck in their homes,” Air Commodore Rippon Gupta said at the Tamabaram Air Base, nearly 30 kms from here.

Sukanya (29), who is seven months pregnant, along with her three-year-old child was airlifted from her home in Medumbakkam, near Guindy, one of the worst-affected areas in Chennai.

She was brought Tambaram Air Base in a Chetak helicopter, and then immediately taken to the Base Hospital.

“We moved to the fourth floor of our house as the first and the second floor have become inundated. There is no electricity in our area for the last two days.

“We had lost all hope until they rescued us today,” she told PTI.

“My husband will come after me and we are planning to go to Kanchipuram, where my parents are waiting,” she said.

Aerial recce and relief operations revealed a harrowing tale as airports, bridges, and housing colonies were seen submerged in 8-10 feet water.

People raised their hands seeking help from roof tops as IAF aircraft flew past them.

“The Chennai Airport is almost washed out, with flight operations still suspended. Runways and parking bays are flooded. A bridge near Saidapet area is completely overrun with water, cutting off areas and isolating people,” a pilot, involved in the relief operation, said.

Several students from a private university, who were left stranded in the city, were also brought to the Tambaram Air Base from where they were flown to Bangalore or Delhi.

“We are over 50 students from SRM University. We were stuck in the city until we were rescued last night at about 10 PM.

“And, we were then brought to the air base here, where they took care of us, and today we are flying out,” 18-year-old George K George, a student and Kerala native, said.

“We are flying them in different batches to Arukonnam Air Base, which has a bigger runway, and one of our main hubs for rescue operations.

“After reaching there, they will be flown in C-17s to Bangalore or Delhi as needed,” the senior IAF official said.

Air Commodore Gupta added that “22 sorties were conducted yesterday. As long as the weather permits, we will continue to do so and perform rescue and relief operations,” he said.
PTI