Barrckpore Air Base (Kolkata), May 28: Helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out relief operation sorties in the cyclone hit areas of North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts in West Bengal.
The IAF helicopters dropped relief materials in the areas like Hingalganj, Sandeshkhali of North 24 Parganas district and in Basanti, Gosaba of South 24 Parganas district which is quite close to the India-Bangladesh border.
“We are planning to drop close to 20 tons of load which includes bread, chira (beaten rice) and water for the people who are marooned in the North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts,” said Wing Commander Tapan Srivastava of Air Force Station, Barrackpore.Meanwhile, Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee said that she would urge the Central Government to provide more help.
“This is not a time of politics, but I believe this is a time to help the people. I will ask the Central Government to give more relief,” said Banerjee. Cyclone Aila that originated over the Bay of Bengal on Monday caused havoc in many parts of West Bengal and Bangladesh.
The resultant thunderstorm, tidal waves and flooding forced half a million people to abandon their homes in Medinipur, Sundarbans (located in South 24 Parganas), North 24 Parganas and Hooghly districts.
Millions of people in India and Bangladesh who have been temporarily displaced are in desperate need of water, food and adequate shelter after the cyclone hit the region. It is estimated that cyclone Aila killed at least 210 people and injured over 6,400 in India and Bangladesh.
While hundreds of thousands of residents were evacuated to cyclone shelters, schools, colleges and other buildings, the high winds and floods destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, ravaged crops, killed livestock and damaged roads and bridges.
According to the Bangladesh Government, almost four million people have been affected by the cyclone Aila, with at least 100 dead and hundreds more still missing. While in West Bengal, authorities say that nearly 2.3 million people have been affected.