Port Blair, Nov 26: Despite highest level of preparedness, cyclonic storm ‘Lehar’ has caused extensive damages in various parts of South Andaman on Monday, leaving most of the parts of South Andaman without power for more than 24 hours.
Severe cyclonic storm LEHAR formed over Andaman sea intensified further into a very severe cyclonic storm and crossed Andaman and Nicobar islands closer to Port Blair on Monday morning hours. It moved further in North northwestwardly direction and is likely to cross Andhra Pradesh coast on Thursday.
The South Andaman region of A & N Islands experienced incessant heavy rains since Sunday night under the influence of the cyclonic storm. The sea condition very very rough all along the coastal line and the fishermen were cautioned not to venture in to the sea. The schools and colleges were closed on Monday and Tuesday. All the sailings to inter islands and mainland have also been cancelled.
The Cyclone threw entire South Andaman region out of gear, as cyclonic weather along with heavy rain caused flooding, land sliding, road blockage, uprooting of trees, damages in buildings etc.
More than two dozens of fishermen went missing and almost all of them were rescued by Coast Guard and Police.
In Little Andaman, more than 2000 people were evacuated and kept in Onge-tikrey community hall there. In the nearby Havelock Island, about 1500 persons got shelter in the panchayat Community hall.
The Islands Lt Governor, Lt Gen (Retd) A K Singh convened a special meeting in Raj Niwas on Monday and directed the officials to take all immediate measures to restore the normalcy in the islands. He also ordered for arranging special boats to evacuate about 350 stranded tourists from Havelock Island soon after the improvement of weather condition.
It has also been decided to arrange special aircrafts to clear the rush of stranded passengers following the cancellation of flights between Port Blair and mainland sector for the last two days.
In the meeting, the Lt Governor called for concerted efforts by all the concerned departments to respond more quickly at time of disasters. Expressing concern over the disruption to the traffic due to falling of tress all over Port Blair town, he emphasised that the fire department, forest, police and other departments should pool their disaster control kits at the State Control Room, so that immediate action can be taken to clear the fallen trees on the roads. He also complimented the special transmission services extended by the All India Radio throughout the night to alert the general public with latest updates on the cyclonic condition.
During the meeting, the Chief of the Staff of Andaman and Nicobar Command, Rear Admiral Sudhir Pillai informed that the disaster response teams traced out 18 missing boats and rescued all the fishermen from them.
The Andaman Trunk Road, the life line for South, Middle and North Andaman has been closed for traffic following the large number of trees falling on the road.