Even as rescue operations continue in full strength in southern states post the cyclonic storm ‘Ockhi’, India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a very severe cyclonic warning to Gujarat and Maharashtra.After wreaking havoc in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep, the cyclone has weakened in those states, and its intensity is further expected to reduce from very severe to severe on Monday. The cyclone is on a north-western cause, drifting towards coastlines of Gujarat and Maharashtra at a speed of 17 kilometres per hour.A total of 357 fishermen, including 71 from Tamil Nadu, stranded in sea due to Cyclone Ockhi, were rescued on Sunday morning, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.In addition to the fishermen from Tamil Nadu, 248 from Kerala and 38 from Lakshadweep Islands, were rescued by Airforce, Navy and Coast Guard personnel, she said in a tweet.”An update on the search and rescue efforts being done by the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force to save the lives of fishermen affected by #CycloneOckhi : 357 fishermen have been saved as of 10 am today,” she said in her official Twitter handle.Sitharaman arrived in Kanyakumari on Sunday evening from Thiruvananthapuram and is scheduled to stay there till Monday.Posting a fact-sheet, Sitharaman said since November 30, the Coast Guard (CG) deployed two ships, an equal number of fixed wing aircraft and one helicopter for search and rescue of Tamil Nadu fishermen.Similarly, the Coast Guard deployed seven ships in Kerala and one in Lakshadweep islands.The Navy deployed six ships, two fixed wing aircraft and two helicopters in Kerala while the Air Force deployed one aircraft and two helicopters for Tamil Nadu and Kerala.”As the intensity of the cyclone is likely to reduce, there are less chances of flooding-like situation in Gujarat. Light to moderate showers are expected along coastlines of the state. A warning has been issued for fishermen in the state,” said an official at IMD, Ahmedabad.Lakshadweep islands has suffered a loss of over Rs 500 crore, Lakshadweep MP Mohammad Faizal said on Sunday, seeking Centre’s assistance to restore normal life in the islands isolated by the storm.Ockhi-hit 321 fishermen reach Maha coast: FadnavisMaharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said 28 more boats, carrying 321 fishermen, which were caught in rough seas due to Cyclone Ockhi, have safely reached Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri coast on Sunday.Of these, 23 are from Tamil Nadu, three from Kerala and two from Karnataka, he said.”Due to #CycloneOckhi 28 more boats with 321 fishermen landed at Ratnagiri today,” Fadnavis tweeted.The boats are now docked at Mirya Bunder, Ratnagiri. All fishermen are safe and officials are looking after them with utmost care, the chief minister said.Fadnavis had on Saturday tweeted that in all, 68 fishing boats, out of which 66 were from Kerala and two from Tamil Nadu, had reached Sindhudurg coast with 952 fishermen on- board.”I have given orders to the Maharashtra Maritime Board and the district collector, to make all arrangements for the stranded fishermen,” he had said.”Local authorities are already with them and taking care of all arrangements to make everyone feel at home,” the chief minister had said.Thanking Fadnavis for the assistance, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had tweeted, “Thanks Hon.CM @Dev_Fadnavis for understanding the sense of urgency in this matter of fishermen reaching Devgad minor port, Maharashtra.”Low pressure to become depressionA fresh spell of rainfall is expected to lash Tamil Nadu as the well-marked low pressure area over the south Andaman Sea is likely to turn into a depression in the next 24 hours and a deep depression in the subsequent 48 hours, the Met office said on Sunday.Hovering over the north Sumatra coast and the adjoining south Andaman Sea, the low pressure area now lies over southeast Bay of Bengal and south Andaman Sea.
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After wreaking havoc in Kerala, TN, Ockhi puts Maha, Guj on alert