Port Blair, December 10: A fleet of seven ships and six helicopters evacuated 2,376 tourists, including several foreign nationals, stranded in two islands of the Andamans due to cyclonic weather since December 5.
At least 1,600 tourists, including a dozen foreigners, were taken to safety by air and sea from Andaman and Nicobar islands on Friday. Altogether 2,376 tourists stranded in Havelock and Neil Islands, due to a deep depression formed over the Bay of Bengal that later intensified into cyclone storm "Vardah", were brought to Port Blair during the day-long operation, the Directorate of Disaster Management said in a release.
The rescue operation was carried out jointly by Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Union Territory administration. The stranded tourists were evacuated with help of the ships of Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard. It was led by INS Karmuk, a guided missile corvette.
Meanwhile, according to the MeT department, the cyclonic storm 'Vardah', which was lying 250 km west-northwest of Port Blair, is very likely to intensify into a severe cyclone.
Very high speed winds accompanied by heavy rainfall are expected, and the administration has advised general public to remain indoors.
According to NDMA, the cyclone is likely to move northward for some more time, and then northwestwards and likely to cross Andhra Pradesh coast, around the evening of 12th December.
Warnings have been issued to fishermen in the region. National Disaster Management Authority said Sea condition would be rough to very rough.