In one of their largest relief and rescue operations in the last several decades, defence forces have deployed over 8,500 personnel and around 20 aircraft in rain-ravaged areas of Uttarkhand.
Defence Minister A K Antony has ordered the three Services to deploy their maximum possible resources in the state and provide all help to civilians and local authorities in rescue and relief operations.
The Army has deployed around 5,600 personnel along with 3,000 troops of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) along with their heavy equipment including bulldozers and JCBs.
The IAFhas deployed 18 choppers, including four Advanced Light Helicopters which are part of its aerobatic team Sarang, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.
Ministry sources said so far only 18 choppers have been deployed as IAF pilots do not find it safe to land as soil has loosened up due to rains.
Due to this problem, the IAF has been able to deploy only its ALH Dhruv and other light helicopters in the worst-hit Kedarnath area, where a 14 km road stretch got washed away in flash floods.
The force is also facing issues over aviation fuel availability in Dehradun as the Jolly Grant airfield near there was being used as a hub for all rescue operations.
The IAF also deployed its C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft in the operations to map the worst-affected areas using its hi-tech radar in the higher reaches of the state after which relief operations would be prioritised and consolidated.