1,903 tourists stranded in Andamans rescued

Cyclonic storm Vardah has brought normal life to a standstill in Andamans. Photo: Special Arrangement

Cyclonic storm Vardah has brought normal life to a standstill in Andamans. Photo: Special Arrangement  

As many as 1,903 stranded tourists were evacuated from Havelock and Neil Islands on Friday by the Andaman and Nicobar Administration, and brought back to Port Blair.

Contrary to the warning issued by Andaman State Disaster Control Room, the cyclone Vardah did not cause major damage on Friday morning as it moved north-northwestwards.

Although the control room had issued warning saying Vardah may have severe impact on the Andaman and Nicobar islands from 5 a.m., there was neither rain nor high wind, providing a safe window to evacuate the tourists.

Flights connected

The process started with two MI-17 helicopters and four Pawan Hans helicopters flying to Havelock and Neil Islands to bring back those tourists who had flights on Friday afternoon and other priorities. During the day long evacuation operation, 1600 stranded tourists in Havelock and Neil Islands were evacuated by the Directorate of Shipping, four Naval vessels and MI-17, Pawan Hans Helicopters as well as Coast Guard vessels. The remaining 175 stranded tourists are expected to be brought back to Port Blair on Saturday.

“Many tourists, who reached by helicopter were able to catch their flights today and for others arrangement are being made,” Mr. Udit Prakash Rai the Deputy Commissioner of South Andaman told reporters.

The local administration welcomed all the tourists who were brought by ships and helicopters. At helipads, the Deputy Commissioner of South Andaman and the Superintendent of Police were present while at the Chatham wharf the Chief Secretary of A & N, administration, Mr. Anindo Mazumder and other senior officers of A & N administration, were present with flowers to welcome the tourists.

A total of 1,614 people were evacuated from Havelock island and 289 from Neil island, of which 65 people were brought back to Port Blair by air from Neil and 230 from Havelock.

According to the control room, Vardah has moved north-northwestwards with a speed of 10 kmph and it is situated 250 km west-northwest of Port Blair.

The system is very likely to intensity further into a severe cyclone storm and is likely to move initially northwest ward then west-northwest wards and cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Kakinada around afternoon/evening of December 12.

(With additional inputs from New Delhi Bureau)

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 3:38:04 AM |

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