New Delhi: The NDRF has deployed a team of three women rescuers for undertaking flood rescue duties in Assam, making it one of the first operations where female combatants of the federal contingency force have been tasked to handle a major disaster.
Constables O Indrani Devi, Alpana Das and Rekha Devi are rescuing the marooned and providing food, medicines, water and other relief material to the affected in Silchar, the headquarter of Cachar district, a senior NDRF officer said.
While Indrani Devi hails from Manipur, Das and Rekha Devi are from Assam and belong to the 12th National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) battalion based in Arunachal Pradesh.
The women are part of a team that also has men NDRF personnel and they are armed with life-saving jackets and inflatable boats, the officer said.
The situation in Silchar remained grim on Monday as several areas are still waterlogged, officials said.
NDRF Director General Atul Karwal told PTI that the women personnel are “being increasingly deployed for active disaster relief and rescue operations and the force has made a policy to send them across as teams, wherever it is possible”.
“The women personnel that we have trained are themselves volunteering to go for active rescue operations. I am very happy to see their enthusiasm and the capacity to undertake hard duties,” he said.
We have also seen that they are able to establish better communication with women and children who are in distress, Karwal said.
The NDRF at present has 178 women personnel in combat after it started inducting them in late 2020.
They have been deployed for alert, backup and assistance duties on a number of occasions in the past but the Assam floods is an operation where they are a part of an active NDRF team that is working on ground to help the affected, the senior NDRF officer quoted first said.
The women personnel have been provided with a customised two piece orange and blue coloured combat dungaree.
Talking about the floods scenario in Assam, the NDRF chief said the situation is “easing and will be better in a few days”.
The force will be assisting the state government as long as it is required, Karwal said.
A force spokesperson had last week said a total of 26 teams are operating in 14 flood-affected districts of the state.
Assam’s flood situation is showing signs of improvement with the water level of most rivers maintaining a receding trend while over 22 lakh remain affected across the state, officials said on Monday.
The toll in the state has increased to 126 after five deaths were reported on Sunday while two others had gone missing.
The NDRF has 16 operational battalions located in various states. It is a specialised unit that was raised in 2006 for specific tasks of relief and rescue during natural and man-made disasters or life threatening situations.
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