Army personnel from Kannur-based Defence Security Corps (DSC) are not only constructing temporary bridges from fallen trees but also engaging in humanitarian work in the flood-hit state.
Colonel Ajay Sharma, Commandant, DSC, Kerala region, said, “Our personnel from DSC are building bridges with wood logs whereever villages or residential areas have been cut off due to flash floods. These temporary bridges made of tree trunks have been built in Kannur’s Iritty, Kozhikode and other areas. The soldiers are also engaging in providing relief material to the needy people. Hundreds of people have been rescued from flood-hit areas, even by boats. Big cranes and machines are being used to clear blockages underneath small bridges.”
Explaining the reason why several bridges have been washed away in flash floods, Col Sharma said, “It had not been raining so much in the past. Because of that many rubber plantations had come up near rivers. Because of heavy rains and water released from dams this season, several rubber plantations have washed away. Logs from these plantations have clogged rivers and rivulets, forcing them to change their course and inundating residential areas.”
He said, “It has been raining continuously for the last two days and more rains have been predicted. The Army is ready to provide any kind of help to local people and authorities.”
This is not the first time the Army has used its expertise in bridge-building to provide a helping hand to local authorities. During the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, a suspension bridge outside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium crashed onto a road just before the Games. The Army then chipped in and its personnel from Madras Sappers built a 95-metre-long Bailey bridge in a record five days just before the Games opening. The Army also provided a helping hand to local authorities in Mumbai when it constructed three foot-over-bridges at three local railway stations.