Srinagar, Apr 2: Racing against time, an Army brigade utilised a small window of clear weather in the snow-choked Gurez Valley in Jammu and Kashmir to airlift a critically ill pregnant woman to a hospital here by activating a helipad near the Line of Control on a very short notice, officials said on Thursday.
The Army received a request from the civil administration in Gurez for the evacuation of Zytoona Begum, a resident of Satni village located very close to the Line of Control, who suffered from molar pregnancy and needed immediate surgery due to excessive bleeding, they said.
The snow-clad Gurez Valley is cut off from the rest of the country and high snow levels at the Razdan Pass make it impossible for any evacuation by road, they said.
It was a difficult operation also because the Army had to take precautions in the times of coronavirus pandemic in an area with limited resources, they said.
To make matters worse, weather conditions for the past four days did not allow any helicopter activities from the Gurez helipad, they said.
"On April 1, the Dawar Army Camp of Snow Leopard Brigade received a requisition from the civil administration for evacuation of Zytoona Begum...She was under the close monitoring of civil and Army medical team at the hospital at Dawar," a senior official said.
Finally, the patient was evacuated from Gurez at the first available opportunity late Thursday afternoon, they said.
The patient is currently undergoing treatment at Lal Ded Hospital in Srinagar, they said.
The threat of COVID-19 further added to the procedures of evacuation as Dawar has a civil hospital with limited advance diagnostic and treatment facilities.
"In these difficult times of the coronavirus pandemic, the medical team of Dawar Army Camp and Sub District Hospital in Gurez have achieved a high degree of cohesion and synergy with an aim to provide medical aid to locals and Army personnel alike," the official said.
The Army and the civil administration have pooled their resources to set up a quarantine facility at Dawar in which five civilians who had recently returned from Bandipora have been quarantined, they said.