Three more people were killed in Kerala as a result of heavy rain and winds caused by Cyclone Ockhi on Friday, taking the toll in the state to seven. So far, 14 people have died in the cyclone that that has hit coastal Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
A red alert was issued for Lakshadweep as the storm is expected to make a landfall on the island in the early hours of Saturday, Hindustan Times. Heavy winds hit Kalpeni, the southern island in Lakshadweep, while people were moved to relief camps, Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal told Scroll.in.
The Navy and the Coast Guard are conducting search and rescue operations for fishermen stranded at sea. The joint effort has so far rescued around 214 fishermen from the sea, while a Japanese ship rescued another 60 fishermen.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday spoke to National Disaster Response Force Director General Sanjay Kumar and reviewed the situation in parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu affected by Cyclone Ockhi, the Home Minister’s Office tweeted. The Home Ministry said that NDRF teams had been moved to the affected areas and more teams placed on standby.
Family members of missing fishermen from Kerala’s Poonthura suburb have blocked the
highway near Thiruvallam demanding action from government agencies, The Hindu reported.
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan blamed the state disaster management department for its “serious lapses”. Vijayan said the cyclone alert from Hyderabad was not sent to the Kerala government on time, ANI reported.
Nearly 200 fishing boats that left the Kochi coast two days ago have not yet returned. The All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association General Secretary Joseph Xavier told The New Indian Express that they had received no alert of a cyclone from the government.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the kin of the five deceased in Kanyakumari district.
Schools in at least seven districts in the two states have been asked to remain closed on Friday. Heavy rain and thunderstorms are predicted in south Tamil Nadu, south Kerala, Lakshadweep and some places of Andaman and Nicobar islands over the next 24 hours. Stormy winds can touch 65-75 kmph in south Tamil Nadu and 50-60 kmph in the northern part of the state.