KOCHI: A group of Ham radio operators has joined hands with the Malappuram district administration and District Disaster Management Cell in their rescue operations at landslide-hit Kavalappara.
Led by Kozhikode native Ashraf Kappad, the members of Tirur-based Malabar Amateur Radio Society (MARS), through their wireless repeater mechanism, voluntarily worked round-the-clock to feed the district authorities and rescue personnel with information regarding the recovery of bodies and rescue operations from the landslide site.
The landslide on August 8, triggered by heavy rains, flattened around 40 houses in the area. The rescue personnel have recovered 46 bodies from the debris at Kavalappara so far.
“As per the direction of Malappuram District Collector Jafar Malik, amateur radio stations were set up at the Collectorate, Nilambur Taluk office and Kavalappara on Friday morning itself. Thus, we were successful in setting up an alternative communication system when all else- landline phones, mobile phones and other conventional communications- failed in a time of crisis. We returned only after the regular communications were restored three days later,” said Ashraf Kappad, who is an executive member of MARS.
The amateur radio stations at Kavalappara and Nilambur taluk office were manned by Ashraf, Dr Anwar Sahad, Rasanas and Sanoop Krishna. The station at the collectorate was manned by Shanavas, Shajeer and Nihad.
Formed in 2008, MARS has around 80 members at present. The members of MARS had relentlessly supported the rescue and relief operations during the devastating mid- August flood last year from the amateur radio stations that were set up in Ernakulam, Idukki, Wayanad and Thiruvananthapuram. Ham radios, which makes it one of the most sought after communication mode when the traditional ones break down, is controlled by the Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing of the Ministry of Telecommunication.