(Pakistan 1956)

International Operation Name:  Not applicable

International Operation Dates:  Not applicable

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name:  Asia

Location:  Pakistan

Canadian Operation Name: (Pakistan 1956)

Canadian Operation Dates: 1956/03/06 – 1956/03/17

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

Mission Notes: 

Every summer, the central-Asian landmass heats up.  As the hot air rises it creates 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 on the Indian sub-continent typically lasts from June to the end of September.  Some areas in western and central India receive 90 percent or more of their annual rainfall in this period.  The average monthly monsoon rainfall ranges from 200 to 300 mm per month, with July and August receiving the heaviest rain.

In August 1955, the monsoon rains were particularly heavy.  With 20 major rivers rushing down the Himalaya Mountains into the low-laying flood plains at the top of the Bay of Bengal, the Indian states of Bihar and Assam, and areas of East Pakistan were very hard hit.  Between 4 and 8 million people were forced to flee the floodwaters in India alone. 

The next year brought even more hardship and water to eastern India and East Pakistan.  Again over 10,000 square miles were flooded and 2000 people killed.  Adding to the problems, three cyclones in September brought more rain and destruction.

In 1956, the response was greater, with a special flight being arranged to deliver the relief.  The North Star, NS17502, from 426 Squadron was tasked in January to fly relief supplies from Montréal to Pakistan.  The aircraft bound for Karachi left Montreal on the 6 March 1956 with a full load of Red Cross supplies. 

The flight was routed through Gander, the Azores, Lisbon, Malta, Nicosia, and Dharan, arriving in Karachi on 10 March 1956. After few days layover the aircraft return to Canada on 17 March 1956 by way of Bahrain, Langar, Keflavik and Goose Bay.

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