Tourists stranded in Andamans are safe, efforts on for early evacuation: Rajnath Singh

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the government will launch the rescue operations in Andaman and Nicobar Islands immediately after the intensity of cyclone reduces. 

Last Updated: Dec 08, 2016, 14:00 PM IST
Tourists stranded in Andamans are safe, efforts on for early evacuation: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that all the tourists stranded in Havelock Island were safe and the government has made all preparations to evacuate them.

Singh today called up Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Jagdish Mukhi and enquired about the status of the stranded tourists.

Mukhi briefed the Home Minister about the situation and the steps taken for rescue of the stranded tourists.

"Spoke to Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jagdish Mukhi who apprised me of the situation in Havelock Islands," Rajnath said in a series of tweets.

"All the tourists who are stranded in Havelock Island are safe. The government has made all the preparations to evacuate them," he added in another tweet.

The Home Minister also said that government will launch the rescue operations immediately after the intensity of the cyclone reduces.

"The teams are ready in Port Blair," he said.

Rajnath also told the family members of stranded tourists that they should not panic as everyone in the Havelock Islands are reported to be safe.

Four ships of the Indian Navy were sailed on Wednesday morning to evacuate about 800 tourists from Havelock Island in Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands.

The sudden evacuation mission was initiated at the request of the A&N disaster management, which speculates that a "cyclonic storm" might struck Havelock, an island about 36 km from capital Port Blair.

Havelock and Neil islands have been hit the most by the cyclonic weather conditions caused by a severe depression over southeast Bay of Bengal which led to heavy rainfall, strong wind and rough sea conditions, officials said.

Neil and Havelock are two of the most popular tourist attractions in Andamans and the only means of transportation from them are vessels and choppers which have stopped operation since Monday last due to bad weather.

South Andaman's deputy commissioner Udit Prakash Rai had said yesterday, "About 1,400 tourists, who had visited the islands, are now stranded and unable to return to Port Blair to fly back home."

The local populace of 10 villages of Havelock and Neil islands have also been hit severely by the cyclone which has hampered the movement of essential supplies.