- Cyclone Ockhi has claimed 13 lives in Tamil Nadu and Kerala
- Kanyakumari, one of the worst affected, remains largely powerless
- Several fishermen are still missing and rescue operations are on
Ockhi is now expected to travel north towards Mumbai and Gujarat in the next 48 hours, according to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) Director S Sudevan in Thiruvananthapuram, though it is likely to lose intensity, reported news agency Reuters.
As many as 531 fishermen, stranded in the choppy waters off the Kerala and the Lakshadweep coasts due to Cyclone Ockhi, have been rescued, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said today. So far 393 people from Kerala have been rescued, Mr Vijayan said, as the state government announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the family of those who died in the storm.
Rescue operations are still on with Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard's coordinated efforts in Thiruvananthapuram-Kollam coastal area. In Tamil Nadu, 60 fishermen are still missing and the Navy has been called in for their rescue.
The Tamil Nadu government has also requested the centre to deploy helicopters of the Navy and the Coast Guard for the search and rescue efforts.
Meanwhile, distressed family members of missing fishermen blocked the National Highway in Thiruvananthapuram's Poonthura alleging rescue operations have been inadequate.
The Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Lanba briefed me on the on-going rescue operations #CycloneOchki . More fishermen rescued this morning. Rescue work to continue.Some rescued fishermen waiting in Lakshadweep Isle to get back. Details @indiannavy@DefenceMinIndia@IndiaCoastGuard— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) December 2, 2017
Most of the deaths by Cyclone Ockhi were caused by trees uprooted by destructive winds raging at 130 km per hour. In Sri Lanka too, the cyclone killed seven people.
Torrential wind and rain unleashed by Cyclone Ockhi has shut down schools in Chennai. Tourists in Kochi have been told to stay away from popular beaches where huge waves are pounding the shore.
#CycloneOckhi update @IndiaCoastGuard ship rescued 15 fishermen at sea off Vizhinjam/Quilon (Kerala) Coast and heading towards shore for safe disembarkation of fisher-folks @DefenceMinIndia@SpokespersonMoDpic.twitter.com/39gJrfI20Z— Indian Coast Guard (@IndiaCoastGuard) December 2, 2017
Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari district, one of the worst affected, still remains largely powerless with more than a thousand people stranded in rescue centres. The district has received moderate rainfall this morning and a few low lying areas there are still inundated. 4,000 power lines in the district have been damaged by the cyclone and officials said it may take close to a week for the entire power supply to be restored. The Tamil Nadu government has released Rs 25 crore to restore power supply in the district.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured to provide adequate help to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami during a telephone conversation between the two last night. The Tamil Nadu government has said it will soon seek central funds for the damage caused by Cyclone Ockhi.
A Central Water Commission advisory yesterday said the west-flowing rivers in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Kottayam, Alapuzzha and Ernakulam were likely to rise over the next 24 hours and then slowly fall as the rains reduced. Seven people have been killed in the state.
The advisory also said that the Amaravathi and Bhavani rivers and their tributaries in the Cauvery basin were also expected to receive sufficient flows, increasing the water levels in the Amaravathy, Moyar, Pilloor and Bhavanisagar dams in the Nilgiris, Coimbatore and Erode districts of Tamil Nadu.
"There is a likelihood of a rapid rise in the water levels of the Suwarnamukhi and Kalingi rivers in Chittoor and Nellore districts," the commission said.
The storm has been named Ockhi by Bangladesh which means "eye" in Bengali. In 1999, more than 8,000 people were killed when a cyclone battered the eastern state of Orissa.
(With Input From Agencies)