The Indian Air Force (IAF) has kept 11 transport aircraft and 25 helicopters ready to carry out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations as part of preparations to deal with the situation arising out of Cyclone Yaas, officials said on Sunday.
The IAF airlifted 21 tonnes of relief materials and 334 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel to Kolkata and Port Blair from three different places on Sunday as the government initiated a series of measures to tackle the cyclone that is brewing in the Bay of Bengal, they said.
The officials said the relief materials, equipment and personnel were transported from Patna, Varanasi and Arakkonam using five C-130 aircraft. “This is in preparation for the approaching Cyclone Yaas and the operations are ongoing since May 21. To date, the IAF has airlifted 606 personnel and 57 tonnes of load for this purpose," an official said.
The officials said the IAF has kept 11 transport aircraft, including three C-130s, four An-32 planes and two Dornier aircraft, ready for HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) operations. Additionally, around 25 choppers, including 11 Mi-17 V5, two Chetaks, three Cheetahs and seven Mi-17 helicopters, are also kept on standby for any eventuality, they said.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said the cyclone is expected to cross the West Bengal and north Odisha coasts by May 26 evening with a wind speed ranging 155-165 kmph and gusting to 185 kmph. The Indian Navy has put four warships and a number of aircraft on standby as part of its preparations for the cyclone.
The navy carried out a massive relief-and-rescue operation after Cyclone Tauktae battered the country’s western coast earlier this week, leaving behind a trail of destruction in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka and Goa. The navy said eight flood relief teams and four diving teams are positioned in Odisha and West Bengal to augment the existing resources.