India 1954, 1955, 1956 Humanitarian Relief

International Information

International Operation Name: India 1954

International Mission Name: India 1954 Humanitarian Relief

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name: Asia

Location: India

Mission Date: 26 August 1954 - 26 August 1954

Mission Mandate: To airlift humanitarian relief to India after monsoon flooding

Canadian Forces (CF) Information (India 1954, 1955, 1956 Humanitarian Relief)

Name: India 1954 Humanitarian Relief

Date: 27 August 1954 - 30 August 1954

CF Mission/Operation Notes: Every summer, the central-Asian land mass heats up, creating a low pressure area that draws in massive amounts of air from the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The winds created by this influx of air are properly called monsoon; the rain that comes with it are the monsoon rains.

The monsoon season in India typically lasts from June to the end of September, bringing average monthly rainfalls of 200 to 300 mm. July and August receive the heaviest rain.

In August 1954, the monsoon rains were particularly heavy and the Indian states of Bihar and Assam as well as large areas of East Pakistan were very hard hit. Between four and eight million people were forced to flee the floodwaters in India alone.

In 1954, Canada took advantage of a special flight carrying military personnel to the International Commission on Supervision and Control (ICSC) to deliver a ton of relief supplies to India, the 426 Squadron North Star leaving Lachine on 27 August and arriving at Calcutta on the 30th. It then continued to fly east across the Pacific back to Montreal. 1955 saw a bigger response, as two special flights (one to India, the other to Pakistan) were arranged for the specific purpose of delivering relief in early December. Both carried blankets and medical supplies and were back in Montreal before the New Year.

The response to the flooding and cyclones continued in January 1956. A North Star left for New Delhi on 9 January, while a second left on the 30th. This last aircraft, while circumnavigating the world, was stuck for a week in the western Pacific because of adverse winds. The aircraft and crew did not return to Montreal until 22 February.

A North Star flight to Hanoi left on 6 July carrying supplies and rotating personnel of the ICSC. Onboard were Red Cross supplies that were offloaded during the routine stop in Calcutta. On 25 July the aircraft returned to its base at Lachine.

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