Kolkata: West Bengal government on Friday sought help from the armed forces for the first time since Tuesday when eight districts in south Bengal were hit by flood.
The air force pressed into service a helicopter to rescue 39 people who were trapped inside a two-storey house at Pratappur village in the Ghatal sub-division of West Midnapore district.
Among the marooned villagers were several women and children. This was the tallest structure in the village and people took shelter in it after other houses and huts in the area were either destroyed or inundated, district officials said.
The district magistrate sought help the Eastern Command when rescue workers failed to reach the house even with speedboats. District officials said the house was in critical condition and might collapse any time.
“One Mi17 V5 helicopter of the India Air Force got airborne from Barrackpore in the North 24 Parganas in the afternoon. The rescue operation was in progress till last reports came in,” a spokesperson for the Eastern Command told a national media.
Amitava Chakrabarty, distaster management officer of Ghatal, said there was no place to land and air force personnel were working on alternative methods of evacuation.
Earlier in the day , state irrigation minister Rajib Banerjee visited Ghatal and surrounding areas.
The overall flood situation in the state improved on Friday since there was no rain in most of the districts and less water was released by the Damodar Valley Corporation from its river dams.