Shimoga man in Uttarakhand puts heart and soul into rescue work

Shimoga man in Uttarakhand puts heart and soul into rescue work

Uttarakhand, popularly known as ‘The Land of the Gods’ has become a ‘place of horror’ due to the floods that devastated the State. Thus sums up Dr Kumar V L S from the city  the situation in the flood-ravaged state.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Indian Air Force (IAF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) are leaving no stone unturned to ensure safety of thousands of stranded pilgrims there.
Members of the NDRF are providing relief materials and treated water to stranded pilgrims by traversing the dangerous hilly areas using ropes, in Pithoragarh district.

Kumar, 36, is one of the members of the NDRF involved in rescue work. He has been part of the operations in Uttarakhand since June 21. He is also the secretary of the district Red Cross Society and a practising dental surgeon in Shimoga.

In an interview with Deccan Herald over the phone from Dehradun, he said, “We are walking 10 to 15 km in hilly areas in a day with the help of ropes to provide relief materials such as food, utensils, water, blankets, solar lanterns, stove and medicine to the stranded pilgrims. First-aid is given to those who require it. Frequent landslides and the change in course of River Kali are hindering the operations. We are not sure whether we will return home safely. However, we are committed to rescue people trapped.”

Kumar said they were continuing their journey searching for stranded tourists. Ration is being airdropped to them. The tourists are being given water treated in mobile treatment machines, following the outbreak of cholera.

“We have been serving the flood-affected people for the past eight days at Dharchula in Pithoragarh district. It’s an ancient trading town for trans-Himalayan trade routes. It is surrounded by very high mountains and is situated in a valley, on the banks of Kali River, at an elevation of 915 metres. Most of the villages in this district are literally washed away due to floods. The pilgrims are being shifted to safer places through walking bridges,” he said.

He said, “Reaching the stranded pilgrims is an uphill task as the bridges and roads have been washed away. However, we are informed about the places where these pilgrims are trapped by the local administration.

“We take the route shown by them. As many as 60 deaths have been reported in this part of Uttarakhand so far. We are trying to trace 600 pilgrims who have gone missing. I am part of a 10-member group. We are using ropes to climb the hills. We succeeded in tracing 23 pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, who were trapped in Pithoragarh district recently. They have been shifted to rehabilitation centres.”

He said, “This is my fifth major assignment as member of the NDRF. Earlier, I had involved in rescue operations in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Assam. But this time, it is a real horror as roads are washed away. Taking up rescue operations in places having no road connectivity is always a challenge. We hope at least a few people are inspired by our service and become part of the Red Cross Society.”  

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