lakshadweepKochi: Lok Sabha MP P P Mohammed Faizal today alleged that the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard failed to respond promptly in tackling the crisis due to cyclone Ockhi, which left a trail of destruction in the Lakshadweep islands.

The Lakshadweep MP said he would write to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in this regard.  "We have not got adequate help from the Navy and the
Coast Guard. They failed to respond promptly in the adverse situation," Faizal told PTI.

He also said that he had spoken to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who assured him that a team of officials would be sent to the island.

A defence spokesman, however, refused to comment on the allegations.

Minicoy and Kalpeni islands were the worst hit by the cyclone and several houses there were severely damaged, Faizal said, adding no casualties have been reported so far.

Meanwhile, a defence release said tonight, INS Shardul from Kochi is heading towards Minicoy island with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) "bricks", which include water and dry provisions.

It also consists of medical equipment, blankets, generators, salvage equipment, desalination and decontamination kits. The relief material would sustain 2,000
people for over a period of seven days, the release said.  INS Sharda is heading towards Kavaratti island with HADR material sufficient for 500 people to last more than seven days. The ship, while proceeding to the island, saved nine persons from a boat, it said.

Naval ships from Mumbai, INS Chennai, Kolkata and Trikand have also sailed out for Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands (LAM) with HADR material sufficient for approximately 5,000 people and would last for more than seven days, the release said.

Androth and Kavaratti are reported to be experiencing strong winds of 40-60 knots coupled with high swells of three to four metres with a "sea state of 5-6," it said, adding all the ships are expected to reach LAM by tomorrow morning.

According to the defence release, in addition to aircraft from Kochi, a P8I aircraft from Arakkonam with greater reach is being used to maintain a close vigil over the sailing ships and provide inputs, if any.

Areas close to the coast would be continuously monitored using Dornier aircraft from Kochi, it said. PTI