Two officers have been honoured with the Asian of the Year 2018 award for their death-defying role in the Indian Navy rescue operations during the recent Kerala floods.
Indian Navy Commander Vijay Varma and Captain P. Rajkumar were honoured by the Straits Times on Wednesday for their selfless service and bravery during the floods.
The Straits Times Global Outlook Forum 2019 announced the winners.
Asian of the Year 2018
This year, the editors chose ‘First Responders’ – the men and women of courage and commitment who stepped up in the moment of greatest need running towards disaster to help.
– Citation, Strait Times
Commander Varma was acknowledged for airlifting to safety, an expecting woman who delivered a baby immediately after being rescued in a district of the port city of Kochi.
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) August 20, 2018
Captain Rajkumar ended up recovering 32 people on board. Two days before, he had received a medal for saving a fisherman last year.
#KeralaFloods2018 #KeralaFloodRelief #OpMadad Another precise rescue operation by Naval Seaking North of Alwaye along the flood plains of River Periyar by Capt P Rajkumar Shaurya Chakra pic.twitter.com/DHye1TveVO
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) August 18, 2018
The Indian Navy with numerous helicopters carried out rescue missions to save people as the ‘God’s own country’, Kerala battled the severe flood crisis in August.
Kerala Floods Rescue Operation ‘Madad’
Indian Navy launched ‘operation Madad’ during the Kerala floods to assist the state administration in conducting the disaster relief operations due to heavy flooding following continued rainfall and release of excess water from dams, particularly, Idukki.
Naval helicopters were also deployed for ferrying divers, power tools, axes and relief material to the flooded areas.
Cyclonic Storm Gaja Rescue Mission
Indian Navy personnel joined the state authorities, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and civil populace to clear public buildings and roads in Nagapattinam. Two naval ships, Chetlat and Cheriyam arrived at Karaikal on Saturday morning carrying relief food material.
#CycloneGaja Two #IndianNavy ships Chetlat & Cheriam diverted to Karaikal to render assistance to state authorities as reqd. for disaster relief operations. 03 ships standing-by at Chennai & 02 ships at Vizag to augment HADR efforts @SpokespersonMoD @nsitharaman @DefenceMinIndia
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) November 16, 2018
Two Indian Naval ships, Ranvir and Khanjar were standing by to proceed to the most affected areas to undertake Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief (HADR), evacuation, logistic support including providing medical aid.
The naval ships had additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, and integral helicopters. Relief material included food, tentage, clothes, medicines, blankets etc, according to an official statement on the Indian Navy rescue operations.
One P8I aircraft, Dornier aircraft and helicopters are also standing by to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded.
– Official statement
Additionally, aircraft from Naval Air Stations, Dega, Rajali and Parundu along with Water Jet FACs and Patrolling Boats from Naval Detachments in Ramnad and Nagapatnam warned the fishing vessels against the storm.
Indian Navy Rescue Operations
There are many other occasions when the Indian Navy turned savior for many people.
Earlier, in October, India launched the operation ‘Samundra Maitri’ to provide assistance to the earthquake and tsunami victims in Indonesia, dispatching two aircraft and three naval ships carrying relief material to the country. Three Indian Navy ships — INS Tir, INS Sujatha and INS Shardul were sent to carry out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR).
All aircraft were at the disposal of Southern Naval Command, including long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I of Eastern Naval Command when the cyclonic storm ‘Okhi” hit the southern coast of the country last year. Eight naval ships rendered assistance.
The cyclonic storm Hudhud attacked the east coast of India in October 2014. The Navy took the lead in providing relief to the affected people in an operation code-named ‘Operation Lehar’.
‘Mission Sahayata’ and Operation ‘Megh Raahat’ were launched for saving people during the Jammu and Kashmir flood in the same year.
During the 2004 Tsunami, the Indian Navy rescue operations included ‘Operation Madad’ for mainland rescue operations and ‘Operation Sea Waves’.
(Note- All the photos have been taken from the official website of Indian Navy.)