With the cyclonic weather condition persisting in the Andamans, around 1,400 tourists remained stranded in two islands on Thursday and naval ships deployed for evacuation were unable to enter the harbour due to strong winds. There were, however, no reports of any casualty from either Havelock or Neil islands hit by the cyclonic weather since Monday. The rains have stopped since morning but the wind is still blowing hard. “The weather continues to be bad. Navy ships which were deployed for evacuation have not been able to enter the harbour because of strong winds and choppy seas,” a Defence official said.
In the morning, two ships from the administration had sailed from Port Blair but could not berth in the jetty of the islands due to strong winds and rough seas, administration officials said. Speaking to the media after a meeting with Lt Governor Jagdish Mukhi, Deputy Commissioner of South Andamans Udit Prakash Rai said, “A decision has been taken that hotels where tourists are stranded will not take any room rent from them, besides giving them food and water for free.” “The administration will make all arrangements to send tourists back home once they are rescued,” he said.
Flight operations are normal since morning today. “Today we are hopeful that the stranded tourists will be brought back to Port Blair. There is no need to panic as everyone is safe,” the administration official said. The official said that there was no report of any loss of life or major damages to property. However, trees in the islands have been uprooted and electric posts twisted.
Besides the tourists, 600 of whom are from West Bengal, local population in ten villages of Havelock and Neil islands has been affected due to limited supply of essential commodities.