Union minister KJ Alphons on Sunday said that Cyclone Ockhi, which hit parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu over the last few days, will not be declared a national disaster, IANS reported. The Kerala government on Saturday had said it would approach the Centre to declare the natural calamity a national disaster.
“There is no provision to declare this as a national calamity,” the minister of state for tourism said. “The Centre will provide funds. If needed, more funds will be allocated.” Alphons had met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other cabinet members in Thiruvananthapuram earlier on Sunday.
The Indian Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard are conducting joint search operations for fishermen. On Sunday morning, 10 ships and three aircraft were deployed off Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Lakshadweep islands, the Indian Coast Guard tweeted.
So far, 22 people have died in rain-related incidents in Tamil Nadu and Kerala because of Cyclone Ockhi. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said at least 531 stranded fishermen were rescued off the Kerala and Lakshadweep coasts. More than 6,000 people have taken shelter in 34 relief camps in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Alappuzha and Malappuram, The Hindu reported.
Vijayan said the Kerala government will give families of the fishermen who died in the storm Rs 10 lakh as compensation, in addition to the Rs 4 lakh from the Fisheries Department. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the relatives of those killed.