Army operations during Kosi floods of 2008
The defence services were deeply involved in the relief and rescue missions. Indian Air Force transport squadrons were actively involved in providing relief to flood-hit Bihar, having airlifted tonnes of relief material in round-the-clock operations*.
There is a small village called Sukhasan in Bihar. When I accompanied the disaster relief team there, it took us about 4.5 hours just to cover a distance while on the way back it took 45 minutes. The journey to reach the houses was hard to navigate because along with the floodwater, there was a lot of dhaan (rice crop) floating around in the waters too and it used to get stuck in the repeller of the rescue boats. The time it took the personnel to declutter and remove the dhaan from the repeller, the raging river would take us in the direction opposite of where we were heading to.
The flow of water was intense, and as I stood up to get down at our destination, the army personnel accompanying me made sure I get off from the side of the boat in a manner that even if I lose my balance, the boat would save me. They themselves stayed on the riskier side. This reminds me of how army personnels risk their own lives and saving it becomes secondary to saving the life of the person that they are with.