The southern states of India are experiencing torrential rain due to the advance of the cyclone “Ockhi”. The Thiruvananthapuram and Tamil Nadu coast are under immediate threat as a deep depression in the Indian Ocean gets intensified.
Twelve fishermen from Cherthala had stepped out before hearing the alerts having only enough ration to sustain them for one night. The Arthungal Police has sent a search party for the three boats carrying them from Thiruvananthapuram coast. Over 270 fishermen have gone missing, apparently unable to return to the coast due to turbulence.
15 stranded men who were floating towards the Kollam coast have been rescued by a large boat. The missing include a marine engineering vessel, around 28 fishing vessels from Poonthura harbour and six boats from the Kollam coast.
Air Force choppers and Indian Navy boats have plunged into action for the rescue mission, talked in by Kerala Minister Kadakampilly Surendran. A press release by the Indian Navy on Thursday reported that “the Southern Naval Command has deployed Indian Naval Ships Shardul, Nireekshak, Kabra, and Kalpeni and two aircraft based in Kochi.”
The National Disaster Management Authority has tweeted safety measures for citizens and fishers.
The category II A tropical cyclone is named “Ockhi” (অক্ষি) by Bangladesh, which in Bengali means “the eye”.
Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala has called for an emergency meeting with the top order of officials about situation control and held situation. Officials have been told to stay on high alert and the Chief Minister himself told the media that they have asked the Navy and the Coast Guard for help in the case of missing fishermen.
Classes have been suspended in schools since Thursday’s heavy rain and strong winds and people are advised to stay inside. Kanyakumari has taken the worst hit until now, areas in Tamil Nadu have been affected. Trees and large hoardings fell, vehicles and assets are damaged and people are injured.
Southern Kerala road traffic is disrupted, trains have been delayed or cancelled, flights in Tuticorin have been cancelled altogether. The cyclone is predicted to gain strength by today as 65-75 kmph gale wind will have more force up to 115 kmph. The cyclone is likely to head west-northwest towards Lakshadweep by tomorrow. Heavy rains, more than 20 cms for some places are in the forecast.