The Air Force on Friday rescued 85 tourists who have been stranded on Andaman’s Havelock island for days because of heavy showers in the region. The Indian Coast Guard said 120 tourists had boarded two ships preparing to leave the archipelago. Andaman Governor Jagdish Mukhi said 320 foreign nationals were among the estimated 1,600 stranded tourists, ANI reported. Rescue operations are still underway.

Mukhi said he had instructed hotels to not charge for food and accommodation, and that the tourists were safe. The situation will improve by Saturday, the governor told ANI. Air India and Indigo have extended waiver on charges for re-issuance of tickets, change of travel date and cancellation for those travelling from or to Port Blair till December 12. Moreover, Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter that he had been apprised of the situation on the islands.

Tourists have been stranded on the twin islands since Monday because of heavy rain and cyclonic weather conditions, which also hampered rescue and evacuation operations. Commercial airlines started waiving charges for passengers cancelling or rescheduling their flights to the Andamans, reported Hindustan Times.

The cyclonic storm has uprooted trees, snapped power supply lines and caused flooding in low-lying areas of Andaman capital Port Blair. Mobile and internet services have also been disrupted. The National Disaster Management Authority said the deep depression over the Bay of Bengal has turned into a cyclonic storm that is now moving towards the Andhra Pradesh coast.

Cyclone Vardah hit southeast Bay of Bengal in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and is likely to lash the Andhra Pradesh coast on December 12 between Nellore and Kakinada, skymetweather reported.