A large scale Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise involving more than 20 ships from the Western and Eastern Fleet and various aircraft of the Indian Navy was conducted yesterday (09 Feb 15) in the Lakshadweep Islands (Karavati, Aggatti, Kalpeni and Androth).
The Exercise simulated a major cyclone striking the Lakshdweep Islands and disrupting essential services, causing widespread destruction of property, loss of life and dislocation of personnel, and was designed to validate the Indian Navy’s capability to provide immediate succor and relief to the affected populace. The Exercise involved setting up medical camps, provision of food, shelter from the elements, restoration of basic facilities and limited restoration work till the situation stabilised.
The Indian Navy has the inherent capacity and capability to reach outlying islands and coastal areas, with relief and rehabilitation material and continuously prepares for this task.
In the recent past, it may be recalled that, in the wake of the ”fresh water crisis” at Male in Dec 14, the Indian Navy had deployed two warships, which supplied more than 2000 tones of fresh water to the city of Male over a period of 10 days.
The Indian Navy was also at the forefront of relief operations in the wake of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, evacuation operations from Lebanon in 2006 and Libya in 2011, assistance to Bangladesh during Cyclone Sidr in 2007 and Myanmar during Cyclone Nargis in 2008. The Indian Navy had also participated in the search efforts for search of Malaysian airliner MH 370.
This Exercise will further underscore the nation’s capabilities in being the ‘first responder’ in the region during times of humanitarian crises.
The following relief activities were exercised simultaneously on four islands, viz. Agatti, Kavaratti, Androth and Kalpeni:-
(a) Setting up of medical relief camps.
(b) Provision of food, water and clothing to affected populace.
(c) Activation of airfields and setting up of helicopter landing sites.
(d) Setting up emergency power supply for hospitals, airport and communication centres.
(e) Setting up temporary structures and shelters.
(f) Evacuation of critically ill/ injured personnel.
(g) Assistance towards rehabilitation.
Units Participating. A total of 20 Indian Naval ships and various aircraft participated in the Exercise, which encompassed an area spanning approximately 8000 square miles in the Indian Ocean. The ships were grouped into four forces, each having a Humanitarian Assistance and Security component, as follows:-