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Indian navy plucks 27 Cyclone Mora survivors from Bay of Bengal: officials

LiveMint logoLiveMint 31-05-2017 AFP

Dhaka: An Indian navy ship has plucked 27 people from rough seas off Bangladesh, officials said on Wednesday, a day after Cyclone Mora battered coastal areas with violent winds and rain that left six dead.

The INS Sumitra found the survivors, including women and children, floating in the Bay of Bengal roughly 160 kilometres (100 miles) off the coast of Chittagong.

“They were floating in the sea when we found and rescued them. Now we are giving them medical treatment,” Eastern Naval Command spokesman Commander C.G. Raju told AFP.“We are planning to send a rescue aircraft to look out for more survivors.”

Cyclone Mora smashed into Bangladesh’s coastline around Cox’s Bazar district early on Tuesday, packing winds up to 135km per hour (83 mph).

Officials said the cyclone killed at least six people and destroyed or damaged more than 20,000 homes. Nearly 600,000 residents have been evacuated from coastal areas.

The Indian Navy had reportedly kept its Eastern Fleet on the highest alert level to assist Bangladesh if needed.

As the cyclone advanced on Bangladesh, local authorities increased the maritime threat to its highest level and ordered all fishing vessels to remain at port.

The Fishing Boat Association said an estimated 200 fishermen had not returned to port since the cyclone slammed into the coast.

“We think they could be stranded or have anchored in far-flung islands or villages,” association secretary Abdul Khalek told AFP.

In the past many fishermen reported missing during cyclones return to their villages after the storm has subsided.

The Bangladeshi navy has said it was sending ships to assist the tens of thousands affected by the cyclone, and to comb the seas for any stranded survivors.“Our ships are also actively working on search and rescue operations in the region,” said Taposhi Rabeya, a spokeswoman at the armed forces division.

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