The IAF has put in 13 helicopters, C17s and C130s for relief and rescue operations in Chennai following the flooding, Indian Air Force, Southern Air Command, Senior Air Staff Officer, Air Marshal P N Pradhan said.

"A total of 13 helicopters, advanced helicopters, strategic aircraft C17s and C130s were pressed into action to provide relief material," he cited. Pradhan said the Air Force has established an 'air bridge' to rescue stranded passengers in Meenambakkam.

"We have established an air bridge because Meenambakkam airport has been shut and a large number of passengers are stranded there. We have set up an air bridge between Meenambakkam and Arakkonam and between Tambaram and Meenambakamm to evacuate stranded passengers," Pradhan cited.

The large number of stranded passengers comprise students studying in various educational institutions, he said.     "We are taking them (students) to Arakkonam and from there, they are being taken in C17s to different parts of the country like New Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune," he said.

Pradhan assured that IAF would provide its support and help to all those affected by the 'massive calamity'. Chennai and its suburbs have been hit by torrential rains over the last few days, disrupting transport and essential services. The vigorous northeast monsoon has left at least 245 people dead since it set in over the state on October 1.

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