ALSO READIndian Navy ship traces 9 Kochi fishermen off Lakshadweep Lakshadweep islands suffer over Rs 500 cr loss due to cyclone: Ockhi intensifies into severe cyclone; to hit Lakshadweep 'Centre has assured all help to cyclone battered Lakshadweep' Lakshadweep MP alleges Navy, Coast Guard failed to respond
Indian Navy today continued search and rescue (SAR) operations in full swing for the fifth day over Southeast Arabian Sea and Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands in the aftermath of very severe cyclonic storm Ockhi. The Navy said the whole of Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands are under the cover of its ships and aircraft with rescue and relief operations on in full swing. The lndian Navy is determined to bring back normalcy to Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands most expeditiously, a Defence release said. All other ships at the disposal of Indian Navy would continue the search and rescue operations and provide relief till normalcy is restored. Eight naval ships, including frontline ships from Western Naval Command INS Chennai, Kolkata and Trikand, were deployed for rendering assistance to the affected islands, the release said. In addition, all aircraft at the disposal of the Southern Naval Command, including long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I of Eastern Naval Command, were deployed throughout the day, it said. Swift action of the Indian Navy has saved 148 lives at sea, which includes 11 fishermen picked up by the Indian Naval ships Jamuna, Nireekshak and Sagardhwani, the release added. Disaster relief material was disembarked at Minicoy yesterday and at Kavaratti and Kalpeni today by Indian Naval Ships Sharda and Chennai. Four tonnes of relief material, including dry provisions (rice,dal, salt, dehydrated potato and onion),water, blankets, raincoats, disposable clothes, mosquito nets and dhurries has been handed over to the local administration, it said. Disaster relief material of dry provisions and ready-to- eat meals are also being dispatched to Bitra lsland by Indian Naval helicopter from INS Dweeprakshak at Kavaratti. INS Kolkata rescued nine persons, all from Kochi, from fishing vessel Island Queen 70 miles off Bitra Island, which was reported missing for the last 15 days. The crew were found to be in satisfactory condition and their request for food, water and seamanship items was immediately met by the ship.
Based on their request, the boat was escorted for two hours into fair weather. A naval Sea King helicopter from Kochi, deployed at Kavaratti island, is being extensively used to transfer men and material between the islands, the release said. In the meanwhile, INS Kalpeni brought back 11 Kerala fishermen rescued by INS Jamuna and INS Nireekshak to Kochi. INS Shardul, which disembarked all relief material at Minicoy, is equipped with diving team and a naval helicopter to carry out additional SAR operations, it said. The material would be enough for 2000 people for seven days, the release said.
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