The Indian Air Force (IAF) on the request of the West Bengal government on Monday rescued 31 people including women and children who were trapped in flood at different villages in Khanakul.

According to officials of Hooghly district, on Saturday night, several villages under Khanakul Block – 2 including Dhanyagari, Majhipara, Samanatapara, Mannapara, Saupara were submerged after water from Rupnarayan and Gandheshwari started entering villages through large cracks in the embankments.

The houses in low lying areas were completely washed away and people either had to take shelter on the roof of two storied buildings on the embankments.

They had to stay the whole night under the sky without any food and water.

“The NDRF team was pressed into action on Sunday morning but that failed to reach because of the strong current. The state government, speaking with the district administration, then asked the Indian Air Force to assist them in the rescue operation,” a senior district official said.

“Two helicopters were rushed to Aramabagh on Sunday evening but the rescue operation could not be initiated because of low light. The IAF helicopters started the rescue operation from Monday morning and 31 people mostly who were staying on the embankments of Dhanyaguri area were rescued and this includes a nine-month-old child. They were air-lifted and brought to the flood relief centre in Arambagh,” the official said.

“We got to know about the situation after some local residents who were trapped in water made some video and sent it to us. The NDRF team tried on Sunday but failed and then we decided to airlift them. The people have been brought to the safe houses and after doing the required medical tests they have been provided with food and medicine,a the official said.

However, the senior officials also said that there are many more people who are still trapped in the water and the IAF choppers will again continue on with their rescue operation on Tuesday.

“Meanwhile, we have dropped dry food packets and tarpaulin so that they can sustain. The water level is not reducing because of the release of water from DVC at the same time. Naturally we will have to wait till the water recedes and then only we can rescue and bring all the people to the safe houses,” the official added.

–IANS

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