Southern India has been hit by horrible flooding during the summer monsoon season.

The southwestern state of Kerala has been particularly hard-hit, with 209 people killed since Aug. 8, according to the Times of India, and another 200 killed before that according to the Deccan Chronicle.

The waters have driven almost a quarter of a million people from their homes—over 724,000 now live in some 5,645 refugee camps in the coastal state.

Meanwhile, the flooding has wiped out important infrastructure, including some 6,200 miles of roads. The Kochi airport has been shut down until Aug. 26. Public transit has completely collapsed.

This has left people trapped by the floodwaters, waiting for state officials to evacuate them.

The Deccan Chronicle calls it the worst flooding the region has seen in 100 years.

Saving Lives is the Priority

Kerala’s Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, has made saving lives a priority, On Aug. 12, he pledged to reach and rescue every stranded person.

The Indian armed forces have been sent into action, as the Deccan Chronicle reports, and are “carrying out rescue and relief operation in flood-ravaged Kerala on war-footing.”

A specific rescue operation carried out by the Indian Navy on Aug. 20 shows the dedication with which the military is doing the job.

A pregnant woman was trapped in a building in the highly industrialized city of Aluva, on India’s Southwest coast.

The woman couldn’t swim to safety or climb into a boat. She couldn’t participate in her own rescue—or the rescue of her unborn child.

With two lives at stake, Indian navy helicopter pilot Captain Vijay Verma of Flight 321 decided to risk his copter and crew in a difficult and dangerous hover-rescue, hoping to pluck the stranded woman off the top of a building.

Captain Verma had to hold the chopper exceedingly steady.

To add pressure to the situation, the woman was about to give birth—according to the navy, her water had already broken before the rescue team arrived. There was no time to be careful, but no way to effect a rescue without the greatest care.

Doctor Sent Down, Woman Brought Up

Because the woman was so close to giving birth, the Navy decided to send a doctor down to the rooftop first. When the doctor cleared the woman to be airlifted, the pilot then had to hold his craft rock-steady while the winch operator brought the woman aboard.

Once she was aboard the woman was airlifted to INHS Sanjivani hospital in Kochi, Kerala, India Today reported.

She gave birth to a baby boy about 40 minutes after the rescue.


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