Cyclone Ockhi: The angry fishermen community protested before Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan when he visited a fishing village in the state capital. Similar protests were seen in Kanyakumari too. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met the families of the missing fishermen in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The Navy, the Coast Guard and the Air Force have been deployed for the seach and rescue efforts.
Thiruvananthapuram: As Kerala and Tamil Nadu struggle with the aftermath of Cyclone Ockhi, the search and rescue efforts are on to trace those missing and stranded. Though the cyclonic storm - which has weakened - has moved away from Lakshadweep and is headed towards the coast of Maharashtra, 100-odd fishermen are reported missing and 16 people have died in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reached Thiruvananthapuram to take stock of the rescue operations and met the families of the fishermen.The Navy deployed 10 of its ships and eight aircrafts for the search and rescue operations in the southeast Arabian Sea and Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands, which has rough weather.
"A total of 55 people were rescued today taking the total to 145. The weather conditions are still adverse at the L&M Islands," the Navy said in a release on Sunday night.
Alert has been issued for fishermen in Maharashtra and Gujarat. The condition of the sea along north Maharashtra and South Gujarat coasts will be very rough today and tomorrow, the met office has said.
Fishermen in Thirvananthapuram launched their own rescue operation on Sunday with 55 boats venturing into the high seas to search for those who have not returned. They found six bodies. The angry fishermen community protested before Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan when he visited a fishing village in the state capital. Similar protests were seen in Kanyakumari too.
As the storm ravaged the state and left a trail of destruction, a blame game started over Cyclone Ockhi, with the Kerala government insisting that it received an IMD weather alert only on November 30, but Union minister Alphons Kannanthanam said it was issued two days earlier.
Union Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said Kerala was alerted by the Met department first on November 28 and warned about the cyclone the next day. "In the bulletin, there was a clear message for fishermen not to venture into the sea during the next 48 hours. This bulletin was repeated every three hours including on the night of November 29 and was still continuing," Mr Vardhan said.
All naval units in the vicinity of the Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands were directed to provide fresh water in consultation with the local administration.
Dr K Satyagopal, Relief said, 150 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been sighted in Lakshadweep. We are awaiting names and other details so we could reconcile".
Kerala Chief Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to the centre to declare Cyclone Ockhi as a 'national calamity'.Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam, who is from Kerala, said it cannot be called a national disaster.
The storm was named by Bangladesh after the Bengali word for "eye".