Ockhi trail: Kerala toll touches 13, more than 100 fishermen still missing

Ockhi trail: Kerala toll touches 13, more than 100 fishermen still missing

Ockhi, the cyclonic storm over Lakshadweep, continued to spell death and misery in Kerala on Saturday even as the official figure of fishermen rescued from the sea in joint operations of the Indian Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard crossed 400. Seven people, including five fishermen, brought to the shore by rescue teams were reported dead on Friday, taking the toll in the state to 13. The cyclone, which hit Lakshadweep on Saturday, causing widespread damage, also claimed 13 lives in Sri Lanka. About 120 fishermen are still reported missing from the Kerala shores amid weathermen's predictions for heavy rain in Lakshadweep and Kerala till Wednesday.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said Ockhi was likely to weaken gradually from Sunday morning. "It is very likely to continue to move north-westwards during next 24 hours and then re-curve north-eastwards during the subsequent 48 hours," a bulletin from the department said.

Protests by families of the missing fishermen continued in Kerala's coastal regions. The fishermen said their presence in the official rescue teams could have saved more lives. Many fishermen who left Kerala shores before the cyclone, were reported to have reached the coasts of Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep.

Rough weather conditions prevailed in the coastal regions of Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kozhikode districts. In Ernakulam, many families were shifted to relief camps after high waves destroyed the protective sea-walls. A total of 529 families are housed in 30 camps in the state.

COMPENSATION ANNOUNCED: The state government announced Rs 10 lakh each as compensation for families of the deceased fishermen. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters at a morning briefing that 393 fishermen, including 100 from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, were rescued. Twelve boats carrying 138 fishermen have reached Kalpeni in Lakshadweep, where several houses suffered damage, coconut trees got uprooted and communication lines were disrupted.

Five fishing boats were damaged early on Saturday at Kalpeni island as water level rose due to heavy rains, sources said.

The 'very severe' cyclonic storm Ockhi - which in Bengali means 'eye' - over Lakshadweep is likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours.

2 ships capsize, 1 missing
Mangaluru: Two cargo vessels from Mangaluru bound for Lakshadweep capsized due to cyclone Ockhi near Lakshadweep while another vessel has gone missing.

Meanwhile,  Coast Guard Mangaluru rescued 20 fishermen from four fishing boats that could not enter the Old Port in Mangaluru due to high tide on Friday night. The Coast Guard has advised fishermen not to venture into the sea for the next 48 hours.

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