Kanyakumari/Chennai: At least nine people have lost their lives and more than 80 fishermen and 50 boats have gone missing after Cyclonic storm ‘Ockhi‘ lashed the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala with torrential rainfall and gusty winds.
It has moved westwards and intensified into a deep depression.
The Navy rescued eight fishermen stranded off Kerala and looked for scores still missing. Cyclone Ockhi is heading towards Lakshadweep and is likely to intensify in the next 24 hours, triggering a “red warning”.
The worst seems to be over on the mainland and that the cyclone has moved away from Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram. But forecasters have warned of heavy rain in south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu. Schools near the coast in the two states have been closed.
The National Disaster Response Force or NDRF and Navy teams are on standby for moving towards the Lakshadweep islands for search and rescue operations. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh took stock of Cyclone Ockhi and said he spoke to the chief of the NDRF.
The Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard are involved in the efforts to rescue the fishermen stranded at sea. Though the Air Force has spotted a group stranded fishermen, their choppers are unable to take off from Thiruvananthapuram due to rough weather. Eight fishermen have been rescued by the Navy. Kerala Chief Minister said the state government has initiated all possible steps to rescue fishermen stranded in rough sea.
Several trees were uprooted and power lines were snapped and settlements close to the sea were severely damaged due to the Cyclonic storm Ockhi in Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi districts of Tamil Nadu.