One hundred and fifty fishermen from Andhra Pradesh stranded at sea when ‘Titli’ struck were rescued in a joint operation by the Odisha Police, Ganjam administration, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and Coast Guard.
According to Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police Ashis Singh, the fishermen were in 35 trawlers. They had left the Andhra coast on September 29. “On Wednesday, October 10, they were sailing near Gopalpur. Despite warnings, they did not come ashore,” he said.
When the cyclone intensified, their friends and relatives requested the local police at Ganjam coast for help. Noting the gravity of the situation, Ganjam administration and police coordinated an operation with the support of the Coast Guard, NDRF and ODRAF. The operation started around midnight on Wednesday and continued till Thursday morning, even as the cyclone landfall was in progress near Palasa in adjoining Andhra Pradesh. Three trawlers with 27 fishermen that had been washed into the shallow waters were first towed to the coast. They were provided medical help and sheltered at the Arjyapalli marine police station. They will be sent back to their homes in a day or two, said officials.
The remaining fishermen in trawlers in deep sea were provided necessary protection by the Coast Guard rescue team till the cyclone subsided.