Tourists stranded in Andamans

The cyclonic storm “Thane” which lashed the Andaman and Nicobar Islands left hundreds of tourists stranded there, reviving memories of the December 2004 tsunami which ravaged the islands. Most of the tourists were from West Bengal.

The storm, with a speed of over 85 km, has played havoc since Monday evening. Regional Meteorological Centre director G.C. Debnath said Monday’s deep depression over the southeast Bay of Bengal moved northwards and intensified into a cyclonic storm. “The Andaman and Nicobar coast will remain under the influence of cyclonic storm Thane. Strong southeast to southerly windspeed between 45 and 55 kmph and rough to very rough seas are likely along and off the Andaman Sea and Nicobar coast,” he said. There is a heavy rainfall warning for isolated places over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the next 24 hours.
Tourists, particularly those stranded at Havelock Island, are facing a harrowing time in trying to return to Port Blair with water transport services suspended. “We are stranded here for the past three days. There is no electricity at the hotels. Communications to the mainland have snapped due to the natural calamity. There is also a shortage of food and water,” said one of the tourists, Subrata Barik. Echoing his plight, another tourist, Soumi Bhattacharya, said: “Surprisingly, the local administration is also not cooperating. They are not providing us any proper information as to when water transport services will resume.”
Confirming that at least 950 tourists are stranded in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, West Bengal disaster management minister Javed Khan claimed that they were safe and that the state government was in touch with the Navy and Coast Guard.

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