Cyclone Ockhi: 39 dead, 167 missing in Kerala, Tamil Nadu
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Cyclone Ockhi: 39 dead, 167 missing in Kerala, Tamil Nadu

The home ministry reviews preparedness of state and central authorities and asks officials to take measures to minimise destruction of life and property.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2017 19:25 IST
HT correspondent
HT correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A view of a flooded locality following Cyclone Ockhi in Lakshadweep on Sunday. Leaving behind a trail of destruction in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep, cyclone Ockhi is now over the Arabian Sea around 690km south-southwest of Mumbai and 870km south-southwest of Gujarat’s Surat, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday. (PTI)

New Delhi: A total of 39 people have lost their lives and another 167 are missing owing to the cyclone Ockhi that has engulfed parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Tuesday. (Live updates)

Government officials said that 33000 people in Kerala and 2800 in Tamil Nadu have been affected by the cyclone so far.

Officials added that four districts Tamil Nadu and eight in Kerala are worst hit when it comes damage to life and property.

The ministry said home secretary Rajiv Gauba on Tuesday took a review meeting to check preparedness of state and central authorities and has asked concerned officials dealing with the cyclone to take all measure to minimise destruction of life and property.

Officials further said that multiple rescue operations are being conducted across Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep where authorities are also trying to locate the missing people.Officials said that a total of 74 fishermen are estimated to be missing in Tamil Nadu and 93 in Kerala. Deaths in the two states are said to 10 and 29 respectively.

An MHA official dealing with the current crisis said 220 people had been rescued in Tamil Nadu, 309 in Kerala and 33 tourists, including foreigners were rescued in Lakshadweep on Tuesday. The official further said two merchant ships caught in the cyclone were rescued and 16 crew members were now safe on land.

Speaking on the weather forecast MHA officials said the cyclone affected areas may get moderate to heavy rain tonight and Wednesday morning and added that cyclone is not expected to have high impact in Gujarat coastal areas.

“The Home Secretary is personally dealing with the situation and all efforts are being taken in the areas,” a senior Home Ministry official said.

Earlier in the day the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) asked fishermen in both eastern and western coasts not to venture out in the sea for the next three days as heavy rainfall is expected in many areas due to Cyclone Ockhi.

NDMA said in an advisory that fishermen along and off Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu coasts should not venture into sea from December 6 to 8 while fishermen along and off Andaman and Nicobar Islands are advised not to venture into sea till tomorrow.

“It is very likely that the cyclone will to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by tonight,” NDMA said

“Minor damage to loose unsecured structures and minor damage to banana trees, agriculture near coast due to saltspray is expected. Damage to ripe paddy crops and minor damage to ‘kutcha’ embankments are expected,” NDMA statement read.

Meanwhile the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by cabinet secretary PK Sinha, has been reviewing the rescue and relief operations being carried out in high seas and coastal areas hit by Cyclone Ockhi.

The NCMC on Monday took stock of the preparedness in Maharashtra and Gujarat which are likely to be impacted by the cyclone, an official statement said.

“The Cabinet Secretary held a video conference with the Chief Secretaries and the senior officers of the affected States and UTs to review situation. The meeting was also attended by the officials of Ministry of Home Affairs, National Disaster Management Authority, Ministry of Defence, Indian Navy, India Air Force, Indian Coast Guard, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Indian Meteorological Department,” NCMC said in a statement.

They further said the Central Government had deployed 10 ships, three aircrafts, one helicopter of the Coast Guard , 10 ships two aircraft’s and two helicopters of Indian Navy and one aircraft and three helicopters of the Air force in the cyclone- hit states.

“The government agencies at the centre and the affected States are regularly monitoring the cyclonic storm and are conducting necessary relief and rescue operations. Indian Coast Guards, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, NDRF and local Government agencies are also continuing the search and rescue operations, NCMC said.


First Published: Dec 05, 2017 19:25 IST