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Hams in India Supporting Emergency Communications Following Flood Disaster

06/26/2013

Amateur Radio volunteers have been providing emergency communications in the flood-stricken state of Uttarakhand in northern India. Jim Linton, VK3PC, who chairs the IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee, reports that unusually heavy early seasonal monsoons are causing flooding and mudslides. At least 800 people have died. “The disaster caught everyone by surprise,” Linton said. “The emergency communications provided by radio amateurs are well known to disaster authorities and the government, through their preparedness drills and other presentations.” India’s National Coordinator for Disaster Communication Jayu Mbide, VU2JAU, who is with the Amateur Radio Society of India (ARSI), told Linton that he has been in contact with two Amateur Radio stations active in the disaster area at Dehradum and Uttarkshi. “They have been sending messages via coordinating stations in Gwalior, New Delhi and elsewhere,” he said. Emergency communication support is expected to continue “for some time,” Linton added. According to the BBC, the early monsoons may be the heaviest in 80 years. “Swollen rivers have swept away entire villages in Uttarakhand, where there were many travelers in what is peak tourist season,” the broadcaster reported. “Nearly 100,000 people have been evacuated from the affected areas in the Himalayan mountains.” Government rescue efforts have included military helicopter drops of food, water and medical supplies to those trapped by the flood. Jose Jacob, VU2JOS, of the National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR) told the IARU that frequencies in use are 7073 and 14,160 kHz; call signs are VU2JOS, VU2MCW and VU3NUG. — Jim Linton, VK3PC, with Jayu Mbide, VU2JAU; BBC; NIAR

 



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