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Old 24th September 2018, 11:06   #1
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Default Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

Thanks to the Team-BHP fan (he prefers to remain anonymous) who sent these images and information in. Heartfelt gratitude for sharing them with other enthusiasts.

The coastal state of Kerala receives some of the highest rainfall in the country, year after year. Yet, apart from a few isolated pockets each year, flooding almost never occurs. Still, the state of Kerala is no stranger to floods. However, what descended on the state in the month of August was on an altogether different level. This was a disaster that engulfed the entire state. As unprecedented rains lashed the state in all its might and fury, the State government described it as the "most intense floods to hit the region in the last hundred years."

On August 15, as the nation was flooding with Independence Day wishes, the state of Kerala was literally "flooding". As nightfall blanketed the state, news of landslides in the hills also started trickling in. In the few days to come, the state would witness destruction en masse; for the dams would soon flood the rivers and wipe along with it all that was found on the way. The floods left no part of the state untouched. The highlands, midlands and the coastal plains were all devastated. Much of Kerala went under water, leaving tens of thousands of houses in shambles.

Situation worsens with overflowing dams:

Excessive rainfall led to opening of dam shutters across the state. On Aug 18, 2018, a red alert was sounded in 12 out of the 14 districts of the state. 35 out of the 54 dams in the state were opened for the first time in history. All five overflow gates of Idukki reservoir were opened at the same time for the first time in 26 years.

Almost all the 41 rivers that tided down the Western Ghats into the Arabian Sea were at spate. Rivers changed course at will and made way through wherever they found space. Dams overflowed, bridges had their prides submerged and many collapsed. Roads were under water and the network of roads that once criss-crossed the state now became just passage ways for water. The once densely populated “extended city” of Kerala became clusters of islands at the mercy of the swelling rivers. After submerging the ground floor, water rose to the first floor of many houses. The current in the rivers was so strong that in the initial days that boats couldn’t even make way through the water.

Land masses had been engulfed by the river and flood waters:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-1.jpg

Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-2.jpg

What remains of some part of the road is visible, amongst the expanse of water and trees around it. There were numerous over bridges / fly overs across the state, atop which, were parked many vehicles. The beginning and end of the over bridges were not visible. Only the top part of the fly overs remained above water, like a crown:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-3.jpg

The famous bridge at Aluva across the Siva Temple. Only the overhead portion is visible. You really cannot make out from where the road came or to which corner it disappeared:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-3.1.jpg

Aerial views of inundated locations:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-9.jpg

Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-10.jpg

A river side school ravaged by the floods. In the background, across the river, you can also see a bridge that's almost washed away:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-15.jpg

A bridge clinging to its dear life:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-16.jpg

Which is road, which is backwater, which is paddy field and which is the village? Take your pick:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-18.jpg

Kochi International Airport during floods. The entire length of runway and dispersal was submerged in water. The airport was closed for operations on August 15, 2018 and reopened only on August 29, 2018:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-31.1-cial-during-floods.jpg

Kochi International airport after water receded:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-31.3-cial-after-water-receded.jpg

Last edited by Rehaan : 25th September 2018 at 13:56.
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Old 24th September 2018, 14:02   #2
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Rescue Operations:

Scampering to its feet after the initial setback, the state administration launched massive rescue and relief operations. In one of the largest rescue operations in the country, 40 helicopters, 31 fixed wing aircraft, 182 teams of rescue, 18 medical teams of defence forces, 58 teams of NDRF and 7 companies of Central Armed Police Forces were pressed into service. In addition to the naval helicopters based at Kochi, airforce helicopters flew in from Sulur and Trivandrum. The army flew in a few from Nashik and the navy brought in a couple from Mumbai and Goa too. Even civil helicopters flew in and chipped in with whatever they could.

Volunteers from across the state swarmed into rescue centres. Yesterday’s common man became a saviour overnight. Every able bodied soul rendered his assistance to the armed forces and NDRF rescue teams in whatever way they could. Many waded through neck deep water to reach inaccessible spots and moved thousands to safety - many of them sick, old and bedridden. People were moved in to the rescue centres in helicopters, boats, skiffs, steel tubs or anything that could be found. It was heart-warming to see the general public that usually goes about minding its own business, rise up in unison to pick up the pieces of these broken homes and families and start the cumbersome process of rebuilding and rehabilitation.

People appealed for help:
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Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-28.3.jpg

Helicopters looked for stranded people:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-44.jpg

A navy helicopter in rescue operations, winching up a rescue basket:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-46.jpg

Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-0.jpg

Winching up on a rescue basket. Two at a time:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-6.jpg

The helicopter at hover, winching up basket with rescued persons:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-7.jpg

Hauling the rescue net inside the helicopter. The rescue net, like the rescue basket, can seat two people at a time:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-8.jpg

This is a religious convention centre, where hundreds of people had taken refuge. Prominent and high perched structures like these provided shelter and relief camps for many during the floods:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-12.jpg

Transferring the evacuated people to medical aid centres:
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A helicopter downwash is pretty strong. In this picture, the effect of the downwash can be seen on the trees and the ripples in the water below. The makeshift shelter which they had made on the rooftop (blue sheet) was without doubt blown away due to the downwash. As can be seen, the ground floor is almost under water.

There were ten people in that house including elderly people, one bedridden patient and children. Despite the high trees in the area and electric cables in the vicinity, all of them were rescued:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-17.jpg

Helicopters landed everywhere possible to provide rescue and relief material:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-19.jpg

On bridges (notice the water level in background)….
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-20.jpg

…and even on roof tops:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-20.1.jpg

Residents remove food materials which were lowered using a basket:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-21.jpg

Thumbs up! The "all clear" to winch the basket up:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-22.jpg

Rescued people being transported to relief camps:
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Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-23.jpg

A church which functioned as a relief camp. NDRF boat (orange) can be seen which had ferried in survivors from nearby locations:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-25.jpg

Pilots also served as medicine delivery boys. Numerous prescription slips were handed over to the pilots/ rescue teams at whichever place they landed / reached. Many sorties were flown for medicine delivery at varied locations. Many critical drugs were delivered with active help from local NGOs and the government hospitals:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-26.1.jpg

Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-26.jpg

Local volunteers loading up the helicopter for relief material delivery at Adlux Convention centre, Chalakkudy. Navya Bakers and Adlux Convention centre at Chalakkudy deserves special mention for their selfless services for the open relief material provision centre on the highway for air drops. Having three helipads to land, helicopters routinely landed here, loaded up stuff and distributed to people across the length and breadth of geography. Christian College grounds at Chengannur and Police Grounds at Alleppey also functioned in a similar manner where relief materials were provisioned through NGOs:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-27.jpg

Presentation College Grounds, North Paravur. This was a major relief centre and people from all sub centres were transported here using local means. As mentioned earlier, there was no panic or mob mentality amongst the people at any place (relief centres, stranded house clusters or inundated villages). They shared everything they had and worked for the collective good. Here, can be seen the human chain they formed for unloading relief material from the aircraft:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-29.jpg

An army unit was also at the location, who in their own way marked a 'H' and a leading line for the chain to be established:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-30.jpg

"One more please." Rescue operation in progress:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-38.jpg

The NDRF teams evacuating people from an affected building during the initial days. This picture was taken on August 12, days before the full-fledged floods started. Except on August 16 and 17, when the flow of the water was too strong for the boats, the NDRF teams were everywhere. The shortfall they had in capacity and speed of the boats, they made up for with will power. They made multiple trips to evacuate people to safety; from all across the area. Bedridden patients were also rescued by these teams. Moreover, the area was so widespread that the helicopters could not reach each household. It was the NDRF teams with local support who combed through villages in entirety to get everyone to safety:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-39-ndrf-teams.jpg

The army mobilised many troops on the ground and they did a tremendous job:
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Fishermen to the Rescue:

The deed of the fishermen of Kerala is one for fables. Realising the need of the hour, the fishing communities along the coast, brought together all that they could gather. No one asked them to chip in. Yet, by their own will, leaving their livelihood and family aside, they set out to conduct rescue operations. The single engine boats of rescue teams were no match for the heavy stream of the turbid river. It was the fishermen’s powerful double engine boats that could cut power its way forward and make some inroads into the inaccessible areas.

The fishermen army. They did a stupendous job:
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On the first two days, since the flow at the rivers' mouths where it empties into the sea was very strong, their boats couldn’t be streamed up the river to the affected areas. The boats were, therefore, transported to the flood-hit areas on trucks (till wherever the roads were present).

Boats being transported by trucks to the affected areas:
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Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-42-boats-truck.jpg

The fishermen of Kerala displayed selfless dedication and showed what humanity actually means. No one asked them for help. They came of their own will, and left after their deed was done, back to their livelihood. They never asked for compensation, never asked a penny for their selfless service and never asked for fame or popularity. We all have much to learn indeed. With this incident, the fishermen of Kerala have received a special place in the hearts of all Keralites. Long live humanity. They indeed are the real heroes of these floods. Hats off.

Note:
  1. According to government’s estimate, a total of 4537 from the fishermen community participated in the rescue operation with 669 fishing boats.
  2. They managed to rescue more than 65,000 stranded people from various districts.
  3. The Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan honoured the fishermen for their invaluable services to the state.
  4. According to estimates, seven boats of fishermen were completely destroyed while 452 were damaged.

Last edited by Rehaan : 25th September 2018 at 16:02. Reason: Blanking some personal information.
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Old 24th September 2018, 14:02   #3
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End Note:

To narrate, there are many stories of great deeds, of selfless devotion to help people in need, of sharing and distribution of limited resources amongst people in need, of compassion, of bravery and of gallantry and humanitarian aid. What was not find anywhere during the operations, was a SELFISH attitude. There were no cases of robbery, looting or untoward incidents. The super markets across the state ran short of provisions - because all were redirected to relief centres; many of them free of cost. Many shop owners refused to take money when they realised that the things were being bought for sustenance of relief camps.

NGOs did a fantabulous job of sourcing relief materials from far across and from neighbouring states. The non-resident Keralites pitched in too with whatever aid they could. Truck loads and truck loads of relief material crossed over the border from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. A very kind-hearted gentleman owner of Navya Bakers in conjunction with Adlux Convention Centre near Chalakkudy facilitated an open relief material provision centre on the highway. Having three helipads to land, helicopters routinely landed here, loaded up stuff and distributed to people across the length and breadth of Geography. Christian College grounds at Chengannur and Police Grounds at Alleppey also functioned in a similar manner where relief materials were provisioned through NGOs.

Yes, thousands were stranded without food, water and basic necessities in various locations. The relief materials airdropped in the initial days were just a few drops in the ocean. Still, there was discipline in the way people conducted themselves. The relief materials used to be gathered at one place; and distributed evenly to people in need. No one was greedy. When a particular relief camp had acquired the minimum for their sustenance, the locals used to divert the helicopters to nearby areas using hand signals.

On numerous locations the pilots were told, "This is enough for us now. There is a village in that direction where old people are stuck. Please give this food to them."

"There is a madrassa / church / temple / school across that river where there are elderly people/ kids/ people who needs this more than us. Please deliver this to them." Not once, but on numerous counts.

Long live humanity!

A picture speaks a thousand words. A picture that tells a story by itself:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-50.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 24th September 2018 at 17:49.
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Old 24th September 2018, 17:52   #4
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Default re: Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

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Old 24th September 2018, 19:52   #5
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Default re: Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

Times like these show how strong we are, when we are united and what "humanity" can achieve. It is also times like these that shows what harm humans have done to this planet. I just hope that everyone who was affected because of this calamity gets back their life as soon as possible. God Speed!!
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Old 24th September 2018, 20:32   #6
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Default re: Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

What happened after the floods, the rescue operations, the rebuild process, the donations (not just money) etc shows that humanity is not lost anywhere.

Words won't be enough to thank those people.

Related thread: link (August 2018 Kerala floods! Help Kerala)
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Old 24th September 2018, 21:56   #7
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Default re: Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

The floods were a blow to the economy of the state. Also was destroyed the ecology system in the area; the damage of which cannot be equated to words. There also followed a small drought after the floods. The rivers are back to normal now, but the daily life is still limping at many places.

Really glad and enlightening to know that 'humanity' is still alive.
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Old 25th September 2018, 07:37   #8
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Default re: Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

An interesting read for those who are technically inclined: https://medium.com/@biswaz/at-the-ey...d-5ddec61a87b8
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Old 25th September 2018, 09:41   #9
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Default Re: Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

Eyes watered after seeing these pictures. A heart felt thanks to all those who served the humanity, exhibited humanity and saved humanity.

Language got poorer an no Words can express the gratitude to these people
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Old 25th September 2018, 10:07   #10
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Default Re: Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Long live humanity!

A picture speaks a thousand words. A picture that tells a story by itself:
Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-50.jpg
Indeed. Thanks for sharing this with others, while this was shared anonymously, credit goes to everyone who pitched in at times of need. It is heartening to see help pouring in from all quarters. Times like these show that yes, the people of India do have hope left! We may be bad drivers, lazy, at times not concerned about others, but during such testing times, it the collective Indian that gets the work done.

Special thanks our Armed Forces, NDRF, fishermen, NGOs and countless others who selflessly put others over themselves.
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Old 25th September 2018, 10:39   #11
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Default Re: Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

Another daring rescue op wherein the pilot almost landed a Seaking helicopter on the roof of a building (called as 'light on wheels' maneuver)!

Kudos to all the pilots who put their own life at risk during such challenging times!!

https://www.firstpost.com/india/pilo...s-5000831.html
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Old 25th September 2018, 10:41   #12
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Default Re: Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

Thank you Team-BHP & the anonymous user for sharing the pics and bringing in this Thread

It was a triumph of Humanity and Will power to overcome all odds at this time of disaster.
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Old 25th September 2018, 11:25   #13
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Default Re: Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

Thank you 'Anonymous fan' for the photos. A very deserved thread.

And 'Anyymous fan', we know you will be there for our country in times of similar needs - just praying that such need never arise
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Old 25th September 2018, 11:30   #14
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Default Re: Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

Just back from Munnar and the saw the mindboggling and unplanned number of constructions in pristine parts of the landscape. "development" seems to be only mantra, with scant regard for the environment.

For example, the Plum Judy resort was recently in the news when it was affected by landslides. See the new wing under construction in the middle of nowhere. 8 floors! Unbelievable


(https://images.malayalam.indianexpre...udy-resort.jpg)

Sorry if this was off topic, but I wanted to highlight that rescue operations (the main point of this thread) would be extremely difficult and imposes a heavy cost in the larger scheme of things.

Last edited by PearlJam : 25th September 2018 at 11:33.
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Old 25th September 2018, 11:33   #15
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Default Re: Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account

Bravo and Thank You!!

Adding one more astonishing account of rescue by the Navy helicopters below.



And what our fishermen did deserves another thread altogether. Without waiting for someone to call, they came from far away harbors after loading their boats on big trucks, saved innumerous and went back to their daily jobs without waiting for any rewards or facilitation in return. These boats are their livelihood and these men didn't think twice before throwing everything at the raging waters. Some boats got inevitably damaged by hitting the drowned gates and boundary walls of the houses.

Kerala floods rescue from Helicopters : A firsthand account-dlaivrrw4aetffq.jpg

And there are only a handful of photos or videos of them! But people are going to store what they saw and felt in their heart for many generations to come!!
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