An estimated 1,400 tourists stranded on islands in India’s Andaman and Nicobar Island archipelago will be rescued once the intensity of a cyclone pounding the region reduces, Indian officials have said on Thursday.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said all tourists who were stranded on Havelock Island were safe.
“The government will launch the rescue operations immediately after the intensity of the cyclone reduces,’’ Singh noted.
Local official Udit Prakash Rai told newsmen that Navy vessels with food, fresh water, rescue personnel, medicine and doctors were waiting at the harbour at Port Blair.
“The Islands on which the tourists were stranded, is located about 40 to 60 kilometres from Port Blair and can be reached only by boats and helicopters.
“However, these have been unable to operate since Monday due to the bad weather,’’ Rai said.
He added that cyclone Vardah uprooted trees, caused flooding and disrupted power supplies at several places.
The latest weather bulletin said the cyclone was expected to move towards the mainland and conditions on the islands are expected to improve by Friday.
The archipelago, located 1,200 kilometres off the Indian mainland in the Bay of Bengal is comprised of 500 islands of which just 34 are permanently inhabited.
Report says many of the islands were devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.