In pics: Cyclone Ockhi leaves a trail of death and destruction in south India | india news | Hindustan Times
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In pics: Cyclone Ockhi leaves a trail of death and destruction in south India

According to latest reports, the cyclone has claimed the lives of 40 people with 475 fishermen rescued so far. Around 115 are still reported missing.

india Updated: Dec 03, 2017 19:00 IST
Ramesh Babu
A man watches a road that has been cut off due to floods following heavy rainfall caused by Cyclone Ockhi which caused heavy damage in Kanyakumari district on Saturday.
A man watches a road that has been cut off due to floods following heavy rainfall caused by Cyclone Ockhi which caused heavy damage in Kanyakumari district on Saturday.(PTI)

After battering Lakshadweep islands on Saturday, and leaving a trail of death and destruction along the southern coast of Kerala and Tamil Nadu earlier, cyclone Ockhi is slowly moving towards the western coast of the country, Met officials said. It is likely to weaken once it arrives at the Gujarat coasts by Monday.

According to latest reports, the cyclone has claimed the lives of 40 people (26 in Kerala and 14 in Tamil Nadu) with 475 fishermen rescued so far. Around 115 are still reported missing.

A fisherman who was stranded in the Arabian Sea is escorted down from an Indian Navy helicopter after being rescued in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, on Friday. (AP)

Protests were mounting along the Kerala coast, with fishermen and their families blaming the state government for the “tardy” manner in which the rescue operations were being conducted.

Residents have launched protests in coastal areas, including Alappuzha and Chellanam, over the delay in rescuing fishermen stranded in the sea.

Residents block a road during a protest demanding that the government reconstruct damaged sea walls and provide rehabilitation to those staying near the seashore in Kerala on Sunday. (REUTERS)

No information has been received about the 33 fishermen from Punthura who had ventured into the sea five days ago.

Angry fishermen defied warnings of the state government and the Met office and ventured into the sea on Sunday in search of missing colleagues.

Heavy rains and gushing winds hammered the southern coast of Tamil Nadu and Kerala as a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal turned into a cyclonic storm leaving a trail of destruction. (Vivek Nair /HT)

At least 40 boats set out into the sea to search for the missing men even as hopes for their survival began to fade. Within 30 minutes one of the boats returned with a bloated body that is yet to be identified. Another body was washed ashore. Meanwhile, Indian Air Force helicopters are continuing search missions.

People receive essential commodities at a relief camp following the impact of cyclone Ockhi in the Kanyakumari district on Saturday. (PTI)

The state government denies that it’s response to the cyclone was lethargic.

Residents carry their belongings as they evacuate their house after flooding caused by Cyclone Ockhi in the coastal village of Chellanam in Kerala. (REUTERS)

“We have done everything possible. It is natural emotions can go up on such occasions. The joint rescue operation team has saved more than 400 fishermen,” Kerala tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran told HT

Kanyakumari: Banana plantation damaged due to heavy rainfall caused by the cyclone Ockhi which devastated the district leading to lack of power supply and essential commodities on Saturday.PTI Photo(PTI12_2_2017_000118B) (PTI)

Stephan, a fisherman hailing from nearby Poonthura, said he was terrified on seeing a rescue boat move away without seeing them and hearing their cries.

“It was the first time we were experiencing such huge waves and a rough sea. Luckily, the rescue boat came back and saved us,” Stephan, who is recuperating at the Government Medical College Hospital here, said.

Officials carry a stranded fisherman, rescued by naval and air force helicopters from the Ockhi cyclone, at Thiruvananthpuram airport on Friday. (AFP)

Though the Union tourism minister earlier backed the Kerala government’s contention that they had not received any prior warning about the cyclone, he later clarified that the central agencies had given necessary alerts on November 28 and 29 itself.

(With agency inputs)