Cyclone Ockhi intensifies, moves to Lakshadweep islands

Thiruvananthapuram: The Indian Coast Guard on Saturday informed that the cyclone Ockhi, which has originated from Kanyakumari on November 29, has moved towards Lakshadweep islands and has intensified into ‘severe cyclonic storm’ with wind reaching up to speed of 60 to 70 km.

“The cyclone has wrecked havoc on South Kerala with severe damage to coastal areas and has endangered lives of fishermen operating at sea,” the Coast Guard informed in a press release.

It further read that on November 30, the Coast Guard District Headquarters in Kerala was informed that around 70-80 fishermen were stranded at sea due to the storm.

The Coast Guard immediately sailed as many as nine ships towards Search and Rescue (SAR) efforts. Further, ships based at New Mangalore were also sailed towards Kerala coast to undertake the rescue of stranded fishermen.

“As the cyclone intensified, coordinated search by Coast Guard ships and aircraft continued in extremely rough weather with wind speed gusting up to 150 kmph. Ships at Mumbai and Goa were also placed on maximum alert to augment efforts as required,” the press release read.

As per the last report, a total of 79 stranded fishermen have been saved by the Coast Guard in coordination with other agencies. Also, the fisheries department has intimated that about 25 boats with 250 personnel are still in distress at sea.

“The Coast Guard is continuing non-stop deployment of ships and aircraft in Cyclone affected areas for the search of missing fishermen. A regular coordination is being maintained with state administration including police and fisheries for swift exchange of information towards the rescue,” the press release further read.

Advisories have been issued to all coastal states, including Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, for adequate preparedness against the effects of the cyclone whose trajectory is likely to curve northwards from Kerala coast.

The move came after cyclone Ockhi lashed the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala with torrential rainfall and gusty winds.

The India Meteorological Department had already warned of heavy rains, and disruption in sea conditions, when a deep depression over the South-West Bay of Bengal snowballed cyclone ‘Ockhi’ on Thursday morning. (ANI)