Cyclone Ockhi: 531 fishermen rescued

Image Courtesy IANS

"I have spoken to Maharashtra Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) to see that these fishermen are given the space to remain there till the sea is safe for them to return", said Sitharaman.

Around a thousand people have been stranded in rescue centres.

Hailing the efforts of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said 400 fishermen stranded at sea had been rescued.

Though cyclone Ockhi moved away from Lakshadweep to Gujarat, big waves and squally winds made their presence felt along Kerala's coast.

A precautionary holiday has been declared in schools in Mumbai and adjoining districts on Tuesday due to "serious weather predictions" in the wake of Cyclone Ockhi, said Maharashtra minister Vinod Tawde. "It was a nightmare", said a rescued fisherman.

While parts of southern Kerala limped back to normal, the Lakshadweep islands were awaiting relief following the devastation with massive coastal erosion, power disruption, and extensive damage to property.

Thiruvananthapuram district Collector S Vasuki said strict instructions have been given that "none should venture into the sea for fishing".

"I was hanging on in the deep sea unable to move for two nights and three days, and only today help came from a passing boat and I was saved".

According to defence officials, the coast guards carry out search operations within 100 to 150 nautical miles and they go beyond that depending on the situation. A total of 20 fishermen from the state were rescued while the toll in Ockhi-related incidents was officially put at 25.

In addition, 80 fishing boats from Kerala, 45 from Karnataka and 15 from Goa have reached Devgarh, Malvan, Meriya Bandar and Karwar ports safely. The navy, air force and coast guard personnel continued their search and rescue operations for missing fishermen for the second day on Saturday. In the eastern seaboard region, the release said, nine ships and two aircrafts were taking up search and rescue operations.

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