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Radio Amateurs in India Support Rescue and Relief Operations in Wake of Flooding


Radio amateurs in at least three western Indian states along the Arabian Sea coast are pitching in to support communication for rescue and relief operations following heavy rainfall and flooding. In Kerala, Shyam Kumar, VU2JLE, told The Hindu newspaper that he and 15 other radio amateurs belonging to the Wayanad Hams (WHAMS) group have been closely monitoring to help the government speed rescue and relief teams get to marooned localities. News accounts say more heavy rain is expected in many parts of India, bringing with it the threat of flooding. Monsoon rains have been falling for weeks, and more than 270 people have died, about half of them in Kerala.

In Maharashtra, Amateur Radio and drones have been supplementing relief and rescue teams dealing with heavy flooding there. Rescue teams were reported to be using ham radio to pass information into a network. Some hams have come in from outside the region to assist. Members of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the military have been transporting supplies to some 5,000 people stranded in various locations.

In the northern part of Karnataka state, radio amateurs from the Indian Institute of Hams (IIH) in Bengaluru (Bangalore) and a ham radio club consisting of postal department workers were reported to have helped rescue and relief operations on August 12.

IIH Director Shankar Sathyapal, VU2FI, said three radio-equipped vehicles fanned out across the region. “This is the second line of communication,” Sathyapal explained for a report in The Hindu. “Relief officers will be provided with walkie-talkies, while each vehicle can cover about a radius of around 10 – 15 kilometers, depending on the topography.” — Thanks to Southgate Amateur Radio News and media reports