India Flooding Renews Community Interest in Amateur Radio for Emergencies
The Times of India reports that the recent monsoon flooding disaster in the northern India state of Uttarakhand has prompted officials in other flood-prone regions to establish Amateur Radio facilities to provide emergency communication. In the Coimbatore sub-district (taluk) of Valparai in the state of Tamil Nadu, recent rain damage led to a decision to install a ham radio station to link local government with officials further up the administrative hierarchy in Coimbatore and Pollachi. The Amateur Radio Club in Pollachi, the Times reports, has said it would establish the station free of cost, to support emergency communication in disasters.
“The Uttarakhand disaster has prompted us to approach the authorities with such a proposal. The permission is expected to be granted soon and the radio station will be a reality in another month,” said the newspaper quote from K. Ibrahim, VU3IRH, of the Pollachi Amateur Radio Club.
Kasi Viswanathan, VU2FFM, from Udumalpet, who is also part of the project, said, “In Uttarakhand, ham radio operators are playing a pivotal role in coordinating rescue works as normal telecommunication gave way in several places. Effective and fast communication is necessary to deal with emergencies.” He said Valparai officials have shown great interest in learning about Amateur Radio. “Collaboration among officials and ham radio operators can make things effective,” he added.
The Times reports houses in Valparai were damaged and soil eroded due to heavy rainfall in the past week. “Taking Coimbatore district as a whole, Valparai is in more need of such a facility,” said Ibrahim, who said he plans to organize a workshop for youngsters in Valparai to acquaint them with ham radio.
Amateur Radio volunteers communications in the flood-stricken state of Uttarakhand have been providing emergency following unusually heavy early seasonal monsoons that caused flooding and mudslides and upward of 1000 deaths. Jim Linton, VK3PC, who chairs the IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee, said in late June that Amateur Radio emergency communication support was expected to continue “for some time.” — Times of India; Jim Linton, VK3PC