The Indian Navy has pressed into service four of its ships to rescue more than 800 tourists who are said to be stranded at the popular tourist destination, Havelock Islands in the Andamans because of heavy torrential rains.
The sudden evacuation mission was initiated at the request of the Andaman and Nicobar disaster management, which speculates that a “cyclonic storm” might strike Havelock, an island about 40 km from the state capital Port Blair, a Navy official said.
“Ships are waiting outside harbour. Adequate food, fresh water, medicines and doctors besides divers and local administration personnel being ferried on board to provide succour and relief,” the official added.
Indian naval ships Bitra, Bangaram, Kumbhir and LCU 38 have been deployed for evacuation. The ships will ferry the stranded tourists back to Port Blair.
Heavy overnight rains have disrupted normal life in the islands and there is a flood-like situation in north and central Andamans.
Even though officials have said that about 800 tourists are stranded, reports from tour operators suggest that about 1200 tourists are stuck.
Mobile and Internet connectivity have also been snapped in many areas.
On Tuesday, the MET department had predicted that the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago will receive rainfall in the next two days because of a depression over southeast Bay of Bengal. The depression was likely to turn into a cyclonic storm, the MET had warned.
“It is very likely to intensify into a deep depression during next 24 hours and into a cyclonic storm in subsequent 24 hours….Light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places is very likely to commence over A&N Islands during next 48 hours,” the IMD had said on Wednesday.
The MET had also warned that the sea condition would be “rough to very rough” along and off Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It had advised fishermen not to venture out.
(With inputs from PTI)