Kolkata, July 28 (IANS) An Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter was pressed into service for rescuing 20 people stuck in floods in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district on Friday, defence and West Bengal government sources said.
The people from a two-storey house are marooned in the floods in West Midnapore’s Ghatal block.
“On the request of the District Magistrate of West Midnapore, one MI 17 helicopter got airborne from Barrackpore and reached the flood-affected area for carrying out rescue of the stranded civilians,” a Defence Ministry spokesman said.
The operation was in progress, he added.
A state government release claimed the residents of the house in Pratappur village “had earlier refused to be evacuated”.
“Today, the water rose above the ground floor level. The residents sent signal requesting evacuation but the floodwaters were flowing too fast for the National Disaster Response Force team with boat to approach the house”.
At least 16 people have died and two million people affected in the floods covering 104 blocks in 11 districts of the state.
Heavy monsoon rains and release of excess water from the Damodar Valley Corporation reservoirs have caused the floods, according to the state government.
According to an official, 45,000 people are still living in relief camps.