The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued warning of heavy rainfall over South Kerala and Tamil Nadu during the next 48 hours due to formation of cyclonic storm ‘Ockhi’. Lakshwadeep, meanwhile, has been kept on a high alert with wind speeds reaching upto 100 kmph.
At least four persons have lost their lives in three different incidents in Kerala. The Southern tip of Tamil Nadu especially Kanyakumari district suffered severe damage as trees were uprooted and normal life was affected. In Kerala, trees and hoardings fell on the road causing traffic jams and damage to vehicles in many places. Rail and road traffic was affected in southern Kerala. Several trains passing through Kanyakumari and Nagercoil regions were cancelled and several others were delayed.
The name Ockhi was given by Bangladesh which in Bengali means ‘eye’.
The IMD report said gale wind with speeds reaching 65-75 kmph and gusting to 85 mph are likely along and off south Kerala over the next 48 hours and off south Tamil Nadu.
The Met office has advised fishermen not to venture into the sea along and off south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala coasts and Lakshadweep Islands. However, around 50 small and medium fishing boats that left from various parts of Kerala’s capital are yet to return, raising concerns among the fishermen community. These boats usually return within 20 hours and they are incapable of stocking much food and water.
The initial round of search mission were coordinated by Coast Guard and Marine enforcement departments. However, they had to return without finding any fishermen. The Navy later launched search operations for the fishermen after the district administration sought their support.
The Navy has deployed 4 boats and 2 aircrafts which will take over the search operations in the sea. Rough sea and high rising waves along with the rain will be a hurdle for the search operations said Marine enforcement SP. There are unconfirmed reports that some fishermen have landed at Tamil Nadu coast and returning to the state by road.