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Post Cyclone Ockhi relief work, 845 lives saved, but 661 fishermen missing

The defence forces and other agencies involved in rescue operations when Cyclone Ockhi battered southern India saved 845 lives, but 661 fishermen still remain missing, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha today.In a written response to a question, Sitharaman said the Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard saved the lives of 821 people until December 20.Another 24 lives were saved by other agencies, including merchant navy vessels.Of the total 845 people rescued, 453 were from Tamil Nadu, 362 from Kerala, and 30 from Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands.However, Sitharaman said 661 fishermen were still missing.The majority of those untraceable are from Tamil Nadu (400) and Kerala (261), the worst hit states when Cyclone Ockhi swept through the coastlines of southern India.The cyclone had caught many fishermen off guard after it formed quickly in the Arabian Sea in early December.Replying to another question, Sitharaman’s deputy and minister of state in the defence ministry, Subhash Bhamre, said admission of girl child has been approved in Sainik School in Chhingchhip, Mizoram, from academic session 2018- 2019.On another question, Bhamre sought to allay the fears of defence personnel, and said there has been no downgrading or change in the exisiting equivalance of the service ranks vis- a-vis their civilian counterparts.

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Declare cyclone Ockhi a national calamity, probe mismanagement: MPs in Lok Sabha

The Congress on Friday said the Centre deployed only three National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams in Tamil Nadu and Kerala while seven teams were posted in Gujarat where there was no loss due to Cyclone Ockhi. Participating in the discussion on the disaster in the Lok Sabha, Congress members in the Lok Sabha demanded that the devastation caused by Ockhi should be declared a national calamity.Congress and Left members, especially from Kerala which bore the brunt, sought a probe into the alleged mismanagement, lack of coordination and other aspects of the disaster while also narrating the ordeal of death and destruction they had witnessed when the cyclone had hit the state.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in his response said the Centre sent early warning to the state governments and that 18 ships of Indian Navy and Coast Guard are still looking for 275 people who are still missing at sea. Also readCyclone Ockhi: Centre to provide Rs 325 crore financial assistance to affected areas after PM Modi visit “Initial figure of missing persons was 433, now after return of some the number of missing remains 275. Even today, which is the 22nd day, 18 ships of Navy and Coast Guard are conducting search operations, Singh told the Lok Sabha. He also announced that the Centre is piloting some low-frequency transponders for fishermen who go into the deep sea.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 39 dead in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, 167 fishermen missingInitiating a discussion on natural calamities in various parts of the country, especially due to cyclone Ockhi in South India, Congress leader K C Venugopal sought putting in place a “functional” monitoring system and efforts to bring back hundreds of people who are still missing after cyclone Ockhi.The cyclone, which had hit coastal states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu on November 30, claimed several lives and caused widespread damage. A large number of fishermen are still missing.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Kerala govt says received IMD weather alert on Nov 30, Alphons says it came two days earlierHe sought to know the steps taken by the Centre so far and wondered whether it was “insensitive” on the issue. “Why is there a delay sending a central team” to Kerala, he asked.Venugopal, who represents Alappuzha constituency in Kerala, also urged the government to come out with a timely and comprehensive relief package for Kerala, where more than 75 people have been killed and hundreds of fishermen are missing in the wake of Ockhi.Stressing the need for strong coordination to bringing them back, he said there have been lapses on part of the authorities with regard to dealing with Ockhi and its aftermath. “We cannot accuse anybody for natural calamities but we could have taken precautions if we had early warnings,” he said, claiming that some officers have committed mistakes.Highlighting the plight of fishermen, he called for a “well functioning monitoring system” and emphasised the need for having a “specific alarm system” saying the people were alerted late about the cyclone.”This tragedy is an eye opener… it is time to think about the lives of fishermen,” he said, adding there has also been impact on the economy as they go into deep sea for many days together and at times are not even assured of income.Shashi Tharoor of the Congress, who represents Thiruvananthapuram constituency which was the most affected by the cyclone, said there was no early warning signal available to the state government, even when the radars to provide advance warnings were located in Kerala (Thumba) itself.He demanded immediate investigation into the lapses for gaps leading to loss of lives and properties.Since this is a “horrendous human tragedy”, Tharoor said the government should be sensitive in compensating states hit by this. Kerala Government has submitted Rs 7,348 crore compensation demand while Tamil Nadu about Rs 9,000 crore.”It is not compensation, we need some structural steps to be taken to mitigate loss” due to national calamity of such a magnitude, he said.P R Sundaram (AIADMK) asked the Centre to declare Ockhi a natural disaster, a demand shared by several members in the House. He also sought a naval base in Kanyakumari to help people more effectively in future cases of natural calamities.Nominated member Richard Hay claimed that the tragic aftermath of Ockhi could have been averted if the Kerala government had taken measured to warn fishermen in advance.When he claimed that the Centre had provided advance warning and relief later, CPI(M) members protested saying he was not aware of the ground realities.Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar intervened to defend Hay, saying there was a feeling that India Meteorological Department had provided adequate advance to the state but fishermen were not warned.B Mahtab (BJD) said natural calamities were affecting his home state of Odisha frequently and asked the Centre to step up its assistance measures. He also demanded that pest attack on crops be declared a calamity.Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena) said the government should focus on preventive measures and expressed concern over the impact of climate change.P Karunakaran (CPI-M) said the Centre should give Kerala a package of Rs 7348 crore and declare cyclone Ockhi a national calamity, a demand supported by N K Premchandramn (RSP) and Jose K Mani (KCP).Asking government to immediately decide on compensation, Saugata Roy (TMC) said there should be no delay. Government should also provide data on the fisherman killed and missing due to the calamity, he demanded.A P Jithender Reddy (TRS) raised the issue of vacancy of the top post in National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and said the post of the chairman has been lying vacant for 3 years and asked the government to fill it up urgently.R M Naidu (TDP) demanded sufficient compensation to be provided without delay, saying if support does not come at right time, it is like justice delayed justice denied. Claim settlement process should be simplified , he added.Md Faizal (NCP) also demanded shelters to be established for the affected people.(With PTI inputs)

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Lok Sabha adjourned after Congress disruption, govt introduces five bills

Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned for the second day today amid Congress protests over insinuations by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his predecessor Manmohan Singh even as the government managed to introduce five Bills in the ruckus.Members from the Congress and the Left, who also sought to raise certain issues, trooped into the Well during the Zero Hour. Amid the uproar by the Opposition, five Bills were introduced after the papers listed for the day were laid. Various standing committee reports and statements by ministers were also tabled. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the ‘Supplementary Demand for Grants – Second Batch for 2017-18’. Congress members raised slogans against the Prime Minister and demanded an apology for his remarks against Singh. Left members were trying to raise certain issues which could not be heard in the din.As the protests continued, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the proceedings for the day. The five Bills which were introduced are ‘The National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill’, ‘The Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill’, The Dentists (Amendment) Bill’, ‘The Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill’ and ‘The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill’. Earlier soon after the House assembled for the day, the proceedings were adjourned till noon following noisy scenes amid sloganeering from both sides of the House.Also readCongress to raise ‘Pakistan interference’ remark in ParliamentWhile BJP members raised slogans hailing the Prime Minister and the party, the opposition raked up the remarks made by him against Singh. Some other opposition members raised the issue of floods in Odisha.As soon as the House met, Mahajan referred to the death of people in a boat accident in Andhra Pradesh, the devastation caused by the Ockhi cyclone, earthquakes in Mexico and Iran-Iraq border and terror attacks in various parts of the world, including the US, the UK, Afghanistan and Egypt. The Speaker also congratulated Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams, boxer Mary Kom and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu for their “outstanding achievements” as well as wished them success. When the House met for the day, it stood in silence in the memory of the departed souls.

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Congress says it has won local body elections in Lakshadweep

Congress on Sunday said it has won the local body elections in Lakshadweep, securing majority of seats in the district panchayat and village dweep panchayats.However, independent confirmation of the win was not available.Congress leader and former MP M Hamdulla Sayeed said the party has secured victory in most of the seats in the district panchayat.While Congress won 14 of 26 seats in the district panchayat, NCP secured victory in 12 seats, he said.Chairpersons of 10 village panchayats are also members of the district panchayats.Congress emerged victorious in six out of the 10 village dweep panchayats, securing a total of 20 seats in 37-member district panchayat.”We have made a come back in the elections. It is a morale boosting victory for the party”, Sayeed told PTI.NCP leader and Lok Sabha MP Muhammed Faizal said his party would work hard to meet the expectations of the people.Over 50,000 voters had cast their votes in the December 14 elections,marred by devastation wrecked by cyclone Ockhi.Both Faizal and Sayeed had campaigned extensively in the polls.

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Cyclone Ockhi: Time for separate ministry for fishermen, says Rahul Gandhi in Kerala

Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi today visited some places hit by the Cyclone Ochki in southern Kerala that has claimed 66 lives, most of them fishermen, and pitched for a better warning system to prevent recurrence of such tragedies.Addressing the families of fishermen who died in the cyclone and interacting with them, Gandhi said the state and Central governments need to learn lessons from the natural calamity, which has also left 95 fishermen missing.”When a tragedy happens, everyone must learn from the tragedy and avoid such a situation in future. We must have a better system of warning for the fishermen who are going to the sea,” he said speaking to affected families in coastal hamlet Poonthura, near Thiruvananthapuram.Holding that the condition of fishermen was very similar to that of farmers, the Congress leader said, “They are both facing very difficult times.” Referring to the demand of local Latin Catholic church, he said it was time a separate ministry was set up for fishermen at the Centre. “The farmers have a ministry that looks after their interests and I think it is time that we create a ministry for the fishermen to look after their interests and make sure they are protected,” he said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Pope Francis enquires about Kerala’s fishermen communityGandhi, who is here after hectic electioneering in Gujarat, said he wanted to come to meet the families earlier. But due to prior programmes in connection with the Gujarat polls, he could not do so and expressed his apology.”Some of you have lost sons, some of you lost husbands. This loss cannot be replaced…we will try to make your life as comfortable as possible,” he said. The cyclone hit the coast of Kerala and neighbouring Tamil Nadu on November 30, claiming 66 lives and causing widespread damage besides leaving several fishermen stranded and missing.Earlier, Gandhi paid floral tributes in front of pictures of those who perished in the cyclone. He also consoled the families and interacted with them. Later, he visited nearby Vizhinjam and met the affected fishermen families and assured them that the Congress would discharge its duty as the principal opposition to bring pressure on the governments to get everyone necessary compensation. “I am confident the Congress will play its role,” he said.He also said the Congress party was committed to setting up a Ministry for fishermen at the Centre and offered all help to fishermen to overcome the present crisis.Also read750 still missing post Ockhi: Tamil Nadu fishersConsoling the fishermen community, including the women folk who broke down during the interaction, Gandhi said, “What you have lost cannot be measured in terms of value and so my words cannot replace your loss.” Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala, former chief minister Oommen Chandy and Congress MPs Shashi Tharoor and K C Venugopal were among those who accompanied Gandhi.

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Tamil Nadu: Four drown after car plunges into 11-foot deep canal

Four persons drowned when their car nosedived into a canal attached to Parambikulam Aliyar Project in the district on Sunday.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>Also read750 still missing post Ockhi: Tamil Nadu fishersFive persons from Ernakulam in Kerala were returning to their natives from Munnar, when the driver lost control of the vehicle when it reached Kedimedu and plunged into a 11-foot deep canal, police said.While one of them was rescued by an onlooker, the others drowned, they said.Also readTamil Nadu | Man gets 43-year jail term for raping, impregnating his teenage daughterFire and Rescue Services personnel, with the assistance from police managed to retrieve three bodies while a search was on for one.

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Cyclone Ockhi: Mumbai receives highest December rainfall since 1967

As Mumbai braced for Cyclone Ockhi on Tuesday, the city received highest-ever December rainfall, breaking a record of 50 years. In 24 hours from 8:30 am on Tuesday, Colaba observatory in the city witnessed a whopping 82 mm of rainfall while Santa Cruz recorded massive 54 mm of rainfall. According to Skymet Weather, the monthly rains in Mumbai for the month of December stands at 5.3 mm and the highest monthly record stood at 55.7 mm which took place in the year 1967.The heavy rainfall in the city was caused due to Cyclone Ockhi which had developed in the Bay of Bengal but moved towards Arabian Sea. The system had intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 39 dead in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, 167 fishermen missingThe cyclone passed the Mumbai coast and just brought rains and there was no loss of life or damage to property. The cyclone on Tuesday night was headed towards Gujarat but gradually dissipated over the Arabian Sea before hitting the coast.As many as 39 people have perished and 167 fishermen were still missing after cyclone hit Tamil Nadu and Kerala coasts while 809 others were swept away to Maharashtra, the Union Home Ministry said on Tuesday.
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Indian Railways ups crowd management game as Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s followers flock to city

Two months after Elphinstone Road stampede; the death anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar and cyclone Ockhi is testing the lessons learnt by the Indian Railways post the tragedy. Though the dangers of cyclone Ockhi causing any damage to city’s infrastructure or lives seem to have ceased, handling lakhs of followers of Dr Ambedkar is surely a huge task at hand for the Indian Railways.Wednesday is the 61st death anniversary of Dr Ambedkar — social reformist, economist and jurist — for which lakhs of people come to Shivaji Park to pay homage. These people are coming in large numbers from various parts of the state and neighbouring states too for whom, long distance and suburban local trains are the best mode of transportation.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Rain spoils Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar followers visit”Ever since the stampede occurred, we have also decided to include crowd management to be vital for commuter’s safety. This is the reason foot overbridges have now become a matter of safety than a passenger amenity and so more FOBs have been planned,” said a senior railway official.Since the past two days, the presence of RPF staff at prominent stations like Dadar, Malad, Borivali, Kurla LTT, Churchgate, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus has increased. The Maharashtra Security Force too is helping with 250 personnel coming in for assisting the railway police.Also readPrime Minister Narendra Modi pays tributes to BR AmbedkarThe followers are seen sitting, sleeping or staying back on station premises along with their luggage. They are also blocking the pathway to staircases of FOBs. So continuous announcements are being made urging people not to wait at the station premises and move towards Shivaji Park. The BEST Undertaking is running shuttle services from various stations to Shivaji Park as well. Posters and banners indicating directions to the followers are also seen. The ticket checkers are barely seen while trains are halting for more time at selective stations to assist people. No doubt, a lot has improved in terms of managing over crowded stations since the tragedy at Elphinstone Road struck. But sadly it took 23 people to lose their lives for the railways to take crowd management seriously.
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Ockhi to fizzle out in sea, won’t affect Surat

Even as news comes that the Ockhi cyclonic system has weakened and is most likely to fizzle out in the sea itself before crossing near Surat, the Gujarat government has been prepapared for the consequences of it hitting the coast of Surat. “Rapid improvement in weather is likely from tomorrow,” said Dr Jayanta Sarkar, director of India Meteorological Department.The cyclonic system was stationed 390 km away from Surat in the south-west direction on Tuesday evening. It was estimated to reach Surat district’s coast and could cause a deep depression, after which the intensity of the cyclone would decrease.Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Chief Secretary Dr JN Singh had already left for Surat to watch over the situation. The givernment had also taken measures to safeguard agricultural produce such as cotton and groundnut stored at state warehouses. Signal 3 was been issued at all ports and all operations have been suspended. All vessels and ships were anchored and exploitation of oil at offshore stations were also stopped.On Tuesday, Singh held a meeting regarding preparations for rescue and relief work. He also gave directions to the district administration through video conference. “Winds can blow at a speed of 60-80 km per hour and parts of the state will receive rainfall,” state revenue secretary Pankaj Kumar said.”Around 7,000 salt pan workers from Bharuch have been shifted to safer places while 900 families from 29 villages in Surat district also have been relocated. Around 13,000 boats that went fishing have returned; only 1,000 are stilll at sea and we are trying to trace them. Of the remaining boats, 700 are from Dwarka, and the rest from Mangrol and Jafrabad ports,” he added.The election commission has also been supervising how to deal with the situation once Ockhi hits. Polls are to be held in south Gujarat and Saurashtra on 9 December – places where Ockhi’s intensity is likely to remain highest in the state. The state has deputed six National Disaster Response Force and two State Disaster Response Force teams for the relief and rescue work. The Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard has also been co-ordinating with the government. More than 13 lakh awareness text messages have been released by the government.Chief electoral officer in Gujarat, BB Swain said, “The cyclone will have no effect over the poll schedule but we have been taking extra care. We have directed all district collectors to make the EVMs under safe locations and polling booths have been equipped with the rain proof shades. We have also ensured transportation of polling staff and polling equipments, including EVMs, in closed vehicles to avoid damage. We are in constant touch with the meteorological department and have been given to understand that intensity of cyclone is likely to be lowest on polling day.”
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Gujarat Elections 2017: Cyclone Ockhi pours cold water on poll campaign

Amid the heat of the Gujarat polls, cyclone Ockhi, eddying menacingly towards the state’s coast, poured cold water on the campaigning today, forcing cancellation of rallies of several top leaders, including those by BJP chief Amit Shah and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, appealed to BJP workers to extend a helping hand to those that would be likely hit by the cyclone, which is expected to make a landfall tonight on the state’s southern coast in Surat. Shah’s poll rallies scheduled today in Rajula town of Amreli and Mahuva and Shihor of Bhavnagar district have been cancelled, a party release said. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi held a poll rally in Anjar but cancelled three in Morbi, Dhrangadhra and Surendranagar due to the impending cyclone.BJP MP Manoj Tiwari’s roadshow in Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad was also cancelled due to light showers since early morning, Bapunagar MLA Jagroopsinh Rajput said. The BJP has also called off rallies and press conferences of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Surat today, a party leader said. Former Congress strongman Shankersinh Vaghela, who floated his ‘Jan Vikalp’ front, was also forced to cancel his roadshows and rallies that were to be held in Junagadh, and Mahuva and Palitana towns of Saurashtra, a leader of his outfit said.Though Vaghela was supposed to reach Surat tonight, he dropped his plan due to the approaching cyclone.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 39 dead in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, 167 fishermen missingMeanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the Gujarat BJP workers to focus on providing assistance to the people likely to be hit by the cyclonic storm. “With CycloneOckhi expected to make a landfall in Gujarat, I appeal to BJP Gujarat Karyakartas (workers) to focus on helping people across the state. Our Karyakartas should devote themselves to providing all possible assistance and stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens,” Modi tweeted.Inspired by his tweet, BJP leaders in Surat suspended all their campaign-related work and began shifting people to safer places, the ruling party MLA from Surat’s Majura seat, Harsh Sanghvi, said.”We have decided not to do any kind of campaigning until the effect of cyclone remains. Since this morning, all our workers have spread across the city to help people. We are moving them to safer locations. During this work, we will not wear any scarves having BJP’s election symbol,” Sanghvi said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Schools in Mumbai, other parts of Maharashtra to remain open on Wednesday The latest weather forecast said cyclone Ockhi has moved closer to the southern coast and is about 390 kms from Surat.
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Cyclone Ockhi: 39 dead in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, 167 fishermen missing

As many as 39 people have perished and 167 fishermen were still missing after cyclone Ockhi hit Tamil Nadu and Kerala coasts while 809 others were swept away to Maharashtra, the Union Home Ministry said today.Joint Secretary in the ministry Sanjeev Kumar Jindal also said the cyclone is slowing down and would have no impact in Gujarat, where the first of the two-phased assembly elections is due four days later.”As of now, 10 people lost their lives in Tamil Nadu and 29 others in Kerala. Even though the exact number of missing persons were not known, as per available information, whereabouts of 74 fishermen in Tamil Nadu and 93 fishermen in Kerala is not known yet,” he told reporters here.A total of 556 fishermen were also rescued by relief and rescue teams from seas.The state governments are verifying with the affected villages to find the exact number of missing fishermen.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Schools in Mumbai, other parts of Maharashtra to remain open on Wednesday Altogether 809 fishermen with their boats from Tamil Nadu and Kerala were swept away and reached Maharashtra coast where they were provided food and shelter.While 33 tourists, both domestic and foreign, were safe in Lakshadweep, 250 fishermen could also reach safely in the islands from the high seas after being hit by the cyclone.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Search intensified to find 92 missing fishermenJindal said two merchant ships with eight sailors each were rescued and brought to Lakshadweep by Navy and Coast guard teams.Asked whether the cyclone would affect the election process in Gujarat, Jindal said there was no such possibilities as it has already slowed down.Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) today asked fishermen in both eastern and western coasts not to venture out in the sea for the next three days as heavy rainfall is expected in many areas due to cyclone Ockhi.Asking people not to panic in case of a cyclone alert, the NDMA said in an advisory that fishermen along and off Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu coasts should not venture into the sea from December 6 to 8 while fishermen along and off Andaman and Nicobar Islands are advised not to venture into sea till tomorrow.Fishermen living along and off South Gujarat and North Maharashtra coasts have been advised not to venture into the sea till tomorrow morning.The severe cyclonic storm Ockhi will move over east- central Arabian sea and move further north-northeastwards with a speed of 21 kmph and lay centred over east-central Arabian sea at latitude 17.5 N and Longitude 70.4 E, about 480 km southwest of Surat and 300 km west-southwest of Mumbai.The NDMA said light to moderate rainfall is expected at most places in Maharashtra with isolated heavy rainfall also likely over north Konkan, Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, Greater Mumbai, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune districts.It is very likely that the cyclone will to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by tonight.Minor damage to loose unsecured structures and minor damage to banana trees, agriculture near coast due to salt spray is expected. Damage to ripe paddy crops and minor damage to ‘kutcha’ embankments are expected.The NDMA predicted formation of a depression over southeast Bay of Bengal during the next few hours and it will further intensify into a deep depression during subsequent two days.The well marked low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining south Andaman sea persists.It is very likely to move west-northwestwards towards north Tamil Nadu, south Andhra Pradesh coasts during next three days.The NDMA said people when asked to evacuate, should move to a designate cyclone shelter with safety kit and store dry food and water in abundance, keep torch and hurricane lantern/emergency light handy and keep listening to battery operated radio for latest information.
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Cyclone Ockhi: Search intensified to find 92 missing fishermen

The Kerala government today said intensified search and rescue operations are on to trace the 92 fishermen missing in high seas after Cyclone Ockhi hit the state’s coast on November 29.’Operation Synergy,’ a joint rescue mission by the Navy, the Air Force, Coast Guard and state fisheries department had so far rescued 252 fishermen stranded in the seas in the aftermath of the cyclone.Besides this, several fishermen had reached ports and harbours in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Lakshdweep, the State Minister for Fisheries Mercykutty told PTI here.With this, more than 1,000 fishermen had reached shores safely, she said.On the cyclone-related deaths, the Minister said of the 25 deaths reported so far, 21 were fishermen.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 28 boats carrying 321 fishermen land safely at Ratnagiri A total of 292 fishermen had gone for fishing on November 29 from the Thiruvananthapuram coastal region and out of that 200 persons have already been rescued, she noted.”Officially 92 fishermen are still missing…Rescue work is going with more intensity and by widening the area for search,” she said adding, however, local people have put the number of missing persons as more than 100.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Don’t panic in case of alert, evacuate when asked, advises NDMAMercykutty said the state government has also decided to open Central Control Rooms in Kochi also along with the one functioning here to provide rescue mission-related information.According to Government Medical College sources here, as many as 41 fishermen, who were rescued, are now undergoing treatment there till this morning.Yesterday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had visited cyclone-hit areas here and assured the state all help.She had also asserted that rescue operations would continue till every missing fishermen was brought back safely.
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Cyclone Ockhi: Schools in Mumbai, other parts of Maharashtra to remain open on Wednesday

Schools and colleges in Mumbai and adjoining districts will remain open on Wednesday, a day after they were closed as a precautionary measure in view of Cyclone Ockhi. Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde confirmed to DNA that educational institutes in the city and other parts of the state will stay open tomorrow. The Maharashtra government had declared a holiday for schools and colleges in Mumbai, Sindhudurg, Thane, Raigad and Palghar districts on Tuesday due to “serious weather predictions” in view of Cyclone Ockhi. The decisoon was taken after an alert by the IMD Mumbai observatory.However, Mumbai University and affiliated colleges remained open and all exam schedules went on as announced earlier. The weather department has forecast intermittent rains in Mumbai and suburbs in the next 24 hours.”Intermittent rain/thundershowers very likely to occur in Mumbai and suburbs in next 24 hours,” said a report of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) Mumbai at 8 am. “Heavy rainfall is likely at a few places with squally wind speed reaching 50 to 60 kms per hour gusting to 70 kms per hour very likely along coastal area in next 24 hours,” it further said. A few spells of rain or thundershowers are likely to occur in the city and suburbs in next 48 hours, the IMD said.
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No, Bandra-Worli Sea Link has not collapsed or closed due to Cyclone Ockhi

As heavy rains lashed Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra on Tuesday ahead of Cyclone Ockhi’s landfall, the WhatsApp “fake news” machinery was at work, spreading rumours and creating panic among the people. One “news” that is making the rounds on the messenger app in Mumbai is that Bandra-Worli Sea Link has collapsed. Many took to social media that they have received such message from their loved ones, warning them to stay away from the bridge. Many shared that they have received messages on WhatsApp that the bridge has been closed after it was submerged under the water. A video of showing huge waves engulfing the Bandra-Worli Sea Link has been shared by many. Also readCyclone Ockhi: Don’t panic in case of alert, evacuate when asked, advises NDMAMany on social media, however, debunked the the video and the news. Fake news debunker SMHoaxSlayer took to Twitter to state that the video which was being widely shared as huge waves engulfing the Bandra-Worli Sea Link was actually shot in Lakshadweep a few months ago. Yogita Limaye, a BBC correspondent based in Mumbai, also tweeted that she passed the Bandra-Worli Sea Link twice in two hours and it was “not closed, not flooded and definitely has not been submerged by waves.”Besides this, there are many other rumours spreading around on social media to create panic. The fact is there are heavy rains but rail and road traffic is still working very much fine in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Disaster Management Unit of BMC has said that the cyclone will have no impact on Mumbai City. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has said that minor damage will be caused to loose unsecured structures due to heavy rain and wind but people are advised not to panic in any case.The NDMA said people when asked to evacuate, should move to a designate cyclone shelter with safety kit and store dry food and water in abundance, keep torch and hurricane lantern/emergency light handy and keep listening to battery operated radio for latest information.
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Cyclone Ockhi: Mumbai records highest December rainfall in a decade

While Mumbaikars saw the city being lashed by moderate to heavy rains across the city as well as adjoining areas, officials from Indian Meteorological Department's (IMD) predicted moderate to heavy rains along with squally winds to continue throughout Tuesday too.

In fact, in the last 24 hours starting from 8 am on Monday to 8 am on Tuesday, Colaba observatory recorded a total rain of 22.6mm while the Santacruz observatory recorded a total of 22.0 mm. “This is a record for the last 10 years in December and the highest ever rain recorded in Mumbai in December was 31.4mm in December 1967,” said an IMD official.

The official added that the city will be covered by dark clouds and can expect moderate rainfall all across along with heavy rainfall at few locations along with wind that can range from 50 to 60 kilometers per hours.
“This is likely to continue till Wednesday morning after which the weather will become normal again as the cyclone is likely to weaken,” said the official.
Meanwhile, the IMD has asked fishermen not to venture in the sea and even asked Mumbaikars to avoid going near the sea including some of the popular tourist sites as the beaches or seafronts citing that the sea will be rough and heavy wave activity will be experienced.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByVirat A Singh <!–end of artlbotbor–>Tuesday 5 December 2017 11:10 ISTMust readSingapore Airlines flight ‘mistakes’ Juhu airport as CSAICome to Byculla and attack hawkers: AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan dares Raj Thackeray<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The effects of Cyclone Ockhi closing in on near Mumbai not only saw temperatures taking a dip but also the city recording the highest rainfall for the month of December in the last decade.While Mumbaikars saw the city being lashed by moderate to heavy rains across the city as well as adjoining areas, officials from Indian Meteorological Department’s (IMD) predicted moderate to heavy rains along with squally winds to continue throughout Tuesday too. In fact, in the last 24 hours starting from 8 am on Monday to 8 am on Tuesday, Colaba observatory recorded a total rain of 22.6mm while the Santacruz observatory recorded a total of 22.0 mm. “This is a record for the last 10 years in December and the highest ever rain recorded in Mumbai in December was 31.4mm in December 1967,” said an IMD official. The official added that the city will be covered by dark clouds and can expect moderate rainfall all across along with heavy rainfall at few locations along with wind that can range from 50 to 60 kilometers per hours. “This is likely to continue till Wednesday morning after which the weather will become normal again as the cyclone is likely to weaken,” said the official. Meanwhile, the IMD has asked fishermen not to venture in the sea and even asked Mumbaikars to avoid going near the sea including some of the popular tourist sites as the beaches or seafronts citing that the sea will be rough and heavy wave activity will be experienced.
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Terrorist Zakir Musa loots bank of Rs 1 lakh

Senior Superintendent of Police, Awantipora, Mohommad Zahid Malik said Zakir was himself leading the group that looted the bank at Noorpora Tral. “As per our intelligence report and as per our input he (Zakir Musa) was there and led the dacoity,” he said. Zakir Musa — a former Hizbul Mujahedeen leader who has gone rogue and called for caliphate and enforcing Shari’a in Kashmir—was named the Ameer (chief) of Al Qaeda linked New Jihadist Group `Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind’ in Kashmir on July 27.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Tuesday 5 December 2017 6:45 ISTMust readCyclone Ockhi: Schools to remain closed on Tuesday, Mumbai University and all its affiliated colleges to remain open Don’t know anyone by name of Shehzad Poonawalla: Tehseen disowns his own brother<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Chief Commander of Al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind, Zakir Musa along with his two associates allegedly stormed the Jammu and Kashmir Bank Noorpora branch and decamped with Rs 1 lakh cash in Burhan Wani’s hometown of Tral on Monday.Senior Superintendent of Police, Awantipora, Mohommad Zahid Malik said Zakir was himself leading the group that looted the bank at Noorpora Tral. “As per our intelligence report and as per our input he (Zakir Musa) was there and led the dacoity,” he said. Zakir Musa — a former Hizbul Mujahedeen leader who has gone rogue and called for caliphate and enforcing Shari’a in Kashmir—was named the Ameer (chief) of Al Qaeda linked New Jihadist Group `Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind’ in Kashmir on July 27.
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Singapore Airlines flight ‘mistakes’ Juhu airport as CSAI

The civil aviation industry was on Monday abuzz about a Singapore Airlines flight SQ422 (Singapore-Mumbai) which mistakenly approached Juhu airport for landing instead of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA).However, the pilot realised the mistake just in time and corrected his course by making a ‘go-around’ before landing at the correct airport.The incident, if true, could have turned catastrophic as the runway at Juhu airport is much smaller than the desired length for larger aircraft and it is surrounded by tall structures. The Airbus A350 had 245 passengers and 14 crew members on board. The distance between the runways in both the airports is 1.5 km and is published as caution internationally to all pilots.Juhu airport is the oldest civil aviation airport in the country and currently handles only helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft for chartered flights. It is also used for aircraft carrying workers to oil rigs owned by ONGC in Bombay High seas.However, Singapore Airlines denied the allegations saying that at no time did the pilots of the Airbus 350 aircraft mistake Juhu airport asCSIA. “Due to poor visibility conditions, the crew discontinued the approach to Runway 09 at approximately 1000 feet, in accordance with standard operating procedures,” spokesperson of the airline said. Furthermore, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) Mumbai then vectored the flight for a subsequent approach on to Runway 09, he added.A CSIA official said that the pilot had to opt for go-around due to the sun and smoggy weather. The visibility was around 3 km for most part of the day on Monday due to the weather forecast on account of Cyclone Ockhi.
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Cyclone Ockhi: Death toll in Kerala rises to 25, Centre assures all help

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today visited cyclone-hit Kerala and assured the state of all help while asserting that rescue operations would continue till every missing fishermen was brought back safely.A total of 20 fishermen from the state were rescued by Navy today while the toll in rain-related incidents in the aftermath of ‘Ochki’ cyclone was officially put at 25.Sitharaman gave the assurance at a meeting with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here after visiting some areas hit by the natural calamity in the district, a CMO release said.Her meeting came even as Naval ships, helicopters, Coast Guard vessels and Air Force planes continued to be engaged in the rescue and relief operations to track down the 100 odd fishermen, reported missing after the cyclone tore into the state’s south coast on November 30.The toll in the rain-related incidents was put at 25 by the state government. Of this, twelve bodies were yet to be identified. Eleven of the deceased were from Thiruvanathapuram district while the other belonged to Kollam, officials said.A Navy ship located a fishing boat with nine crew members, missing from Kochi for the last 15 days, off Lakshadweep coast while ll fishermen, who put out to sea from here, were brought back to the shore at Kochi, they said.During the meeting with Sitharaman, Vijayan requested for generous help by the Centre for relief works considering the gravity of the situation if there was any technical hurdle to declare ‘Ockhi’ cyclone as a national disaster.Also readAfter wreaking havoc in Kerala, TN, Ockhi puts Maha, Guj on alertHe also sought financial assistance for implementing long-term rehabilitation schemes for the affected fishermen.The Defence Minister wanted the state to prepare a detailed memorandum and send it to the Centre, the CMO release said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 28 boats carrying 321 fishermen land safely at Ratnagiri Earlier, talking to reporters, Sitharaman said “Search and rescue operations will continue..There will not be any dilution of operations.” “We want to make sure that each and every fishermen who had gone from Kerala comes back safely,” she said.She visited Vizhinjam and Poonthura fishing hamlets, from where most of the fishermen have been reported missing.”They (fishing community) are in deep distress…I can see it,” she said.Sitharaman said fishermen who had gone much before the cyclone warning, probably 15 days ago, had been spotted in the sea and given food and water.”So I will not lose hope even for a minute. If boats that had gone 15 days ago had come back with fishermen alive, we will make every attempt to bring everybody back,” she said.The fishermen’s demand for including some of their men in the rescue team had been accepted and already 11 of them have joined the Navy boats and helicopters engaged in the operations, she added.”This is the time to keep my focus on rescue operations,” she said replying to a question.The Minister addressed the fishermen both at Vizhinjam and Poonthura, assuring them that there would be no laxity in the search operations.It was an emotionally charged atmosphere at the two fishing villages as women wailing and weeping for the safe return of their husbands and brothers came together to hear the minister, while the men folk raised slogans.”I speak with folded hands…Please listen to me peacefully…The warning was given on November 29…We started search operations from November 30…The Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force began their work. Many people were saved,” she said.”Many people have come back to their families…We have not stopped the search operations,” she said, adding war ships were also being engaged in the mission.So much efforts, not even witnessed when the tsunami had hit the Indian coast, were being taken now, the minister, who arrived here from Kanyakumari this morning, said.State Fisheries minister, Mercykutty and Devaswom minister, Kadakampally Surendran accompanied Sitharaman.However, the local fishermen alleged that there was lack of coordination in rescue operations and staged protests in some places.Pastor of a local church at Vizhinjam said the search operations should continue intensively and the compensation should be disbursed by state and central governments in a time-bound manner.In a tweet yesterday, Sitharaman had said nearly 390 fishermen from the state had been rescued by the Navy, the Air Force, Coast Guard and merchant vessels.
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Indian Navy ship traces 9 Kochi fishermen off Lakshadweep

An Indian Navy ship on Monday located a fishing boat with nine crew members, reportedly missing from this city for the last 15 days, off Lakshadweep, a Defence spokesman said.The boat, Island Queen, was located by INS Kolkata 132 nautical miles north of Kavaratti in Lakshadweep, he said.They have been provided with food and water.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 28 boats carrying 321 fishermen land safely at Ratnagiri “All of them are safe… They are coming on their own their boat to Kochi,” he said.The vessel was reportedly missing for last 15 days and a request was received from local administration to search for it, he added.The spokesman further said the naval ship continued with them for some time before going for another rescue operation.Also readSri Lankan Navy chase away 1,700 Tamil Nadu fishermen, ‘snap’ fishing nets
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After wreaking havoc in Kerala, TN, Ockhi puts Maha, Guj on alert

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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Cyclone Ockhi: 28 boats carrying 321 fishermen land safely at Ratnagiri

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has informed on Twitter that 28 boats along with 321 fishermen have been brought safely to Ratnagiri on Sunday.Chief Minister Fadnavis tweeted that out of 28 boats rescued safely on Sunday, 23 are from Tamil Nadu, 3 from Kerala and 2 from Karnataka. Fadnavis has informed that they are now docked at Mirya Bunder in Ratnagiri and they are being looked after by officials.As the operations to rescue stranded fishermen affected by very severe Cyclone Ockhi entered its third day, Indian Coast Guard has intensified its deployment of ships and aircraft off Kerala Coast as well as Lakhadweep Islands. According to official press release 11 ships, 3 dornier aircraft and 03 helicopters are undertaking extensive search operations in the affected area. In the wee hours of Sunday, Indian Coast Guard ship Shoor reached a remote island Suhelipar in Lakshadweep to rescue five fishermen from a stranded boat “FB Antony”. The island was almost on the path of Cyclone and bore maximum brunt of the storm. Though the island is uninhabited, the fishing boat has taken shelter from raging winds and high waves and escape the impact. Coast Guard ship Shoor reached the location with maximum speed this morning and has recovered all the fishermen onboard. The fishermen are being given required medical aid and food- water to recuperate. Also readEven as Cyclone Ockhi weakens, Kerala CM calls on Centre to declare it ‘national calamity’Coast Guard ship Shoor has now sailed for last known position of another boat which is drifting very near to the predicted path of the cyclone in Lakshadweep islands. Meanwhile, Coast Guard ship Amartya operating near Beypore in Kerala has also rescued 22 fishermen from boat Thatwamasi about 22 Nm (approx 40 Kms) from the coastline. Another Coast Guard ship Abhinav, also operating near Beypore, has rescued five people from boat Joyal about 25 Nm from coast line. As per the last update received, Coast ship Abhinav, is proceeding to rescue of a fishing boat in distress in the same area.Coast Guard ship Samar, also sailing off Kerala coast has rescued 3 more fishermen from boat Salaithanne at location 62 Nm from Quilon coast.As time progresses, Coast Guard has enhanced its deployment so that all survivors from the cyclone can be rescued. An Offshore Patrol vessel carrying an integral helicopter has also been sailed from Mumbai to augment search operations in Lakshadweep. Further, efforts are also being made to recover fishermen who could not survive the onslaught of the storm. Coast Guard District Headquarters, at Kerala and Lakshadweep are maintaining close watch on the situation and reassessing deployment of ships as requirement arises.
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Even as Cyclone Ockhi weakens, Kerala CM calls on Centre to declare it ‘national calamity’

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has decided to ask the Centre to declare the Ockhi cyclone as a ‘national calamity’.Vijayan took to his Twitter handle on Saturday to inform about the same and further wrote that the chief secretary has been entrusted to prepare the memorandum in this regard.“KERALA govt has decided to ask the Union government to declare the Ockhi cyclone a national calamity. The Chief Secretary has been entrusted to prepare the memorandum in this regard. #CycloneOckhi (sic),” he tweeted.The Indian Coast Guard stated 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 statement.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 531 fishermen rescued says Kerala CM; cyclone to move towards Mumbai in 48 hoursEarlier in the day, India Meteorological Department claimed that cyclone Ockhi would intensify in the next 36 hours and move Northwest in the next three to four days.Cyclone Ockhi has lashed the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala on Saturday with torrential rainfall and gusty winds.Also readCyclone Ockhi kills 14, many feared trapped at sea; PM Modi assures all help Seven people, five in Trivandrum and one each in Kollam and Kasaragod districts, have died till now.Meanwhile, the IMD said that the cyclone is likely to weaken from Sunday. “The very severe cyclonic storm Ockhi over Lakshadweep area and adjoining Southeast Arabian Sea further moved northwestwards with a speed of 15 kmph during past 6 hours and lay centred at 2330 hrs IST of December 2, 2017 over southeast Arabian Sea near Latitude 11.1’ N and Longitude 69.7’ E, about 330 km west of Amini Divi. The system is very likely to weaken gradually from today the December 3, 2017 morning,” said IMD.
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Kerala Congress leader urges PM Modi to declare cyclone Ockhi national disaster

Leader of the opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare cyclone Ockhi, which wrecked havoc in the state, Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep in the last two days, as a national disaster. In a letter to Modi, he requested that immediate central government assistance be provided in these places to deal with the emergency situation. The Congress leader also urged the Kerala government to increase the financial aid for the injured at least up to Rs 50,000 from the present Rs 15,000. Also readCyclone Ockhi: Kerala fishermen back from brink of deathLack of coordination had affected the government’s relief and rescue operations, launched post Ockhi, he alleged while talking to reporters after visiting the cyclone-affected coastal hamlets here. Family members of fishermen who are yet to come back,were anxious as the government failed to provide them updated information about rescue measures, he alleged.
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Cyclone Ockhi: Kerala fishermen back from brink of death

It is not the first time Kerala fishermen have faced a turbulent sea, but the sheer ferocity of Cyclone Ockhi has shaken them badly.Trapped in violent waters, with no food or water, desperate eyes searching for help in the middle of a turbulent sea—sum up the helplessness of the fishermen.Though many fishermen were brought ashore safely and admitted to hospitals, many are yet to recover from the shock of wrestling the lashing waves and seeing death face-to-face.Stephan, a fisherman hailing from nearby Poonthura, said he was terrified on seeing a rescue boat move away without seeing them and hearing their cries.”It was the first time we were experiencing such huge waves and a rough sea. Luckily, the rescue boat came back and saved us,” Stephan, who is recuperating at the Government Medical College Hospital here, said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 531 fishermen rescued says Kerala CM; cyclone to move towards Mumbai in 48 hoursMost of the rescued fishermen had bruises all over their bodies and were seen shivering and begging for hot water and food when brought ashore.Titus, another fisherman hailing from Neendakara in Kollam district, said he had never seen such a violent sea even in movies.Also readCyclone Ockhi kills 14, many feared trapped at sea; PM Modi assures all help He said strong winds virtually threw them in the sea and that they somehow managed to hold on to the boat, till the rescue team arrived.His fellow fisherman Kennedy said their boat drifted aimlessly for around 100 km in the gusty winds.Meanwhile, anxious families of fishermen, who are yet to return, expressed their anguish and protested by holding roadblocks in various places here.The weeping women said they were waiting with prayers and tears for their beloved ones to return.
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Cyclone Ockhi: 531 fishermen says Kerala CM; cyclone to move towards Mumbai in 48 hours

The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard continued search for missing fishermen using ships, dornier aircraft and helicopters in the “rough sea” off Kerala and Lakshadweep in the wake of Cyclone Ockhi. While INS Nireekshak, INS Jamuna and INS Sagardhwani are continuing search and rescue operations in their designated areas along the coast off Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam, two ships INS Shardul and INS Sharda are heading towards Lakshadweep, a defence spokesman said.Ockhi is expected to travel north towards Mumbai and Gujarat in the next 48 hours, according to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) Director S. Sudevan in Trivandrum, though it is likely to lose intensity.Also readPM Modi dials CM Palaniswami as Cyclone Ockhi batters Tamil Nadu, assures assistance”The intensity of the wind may come down and the cyclone could change into depression,” Sudevan said adding fishermen have been warned not go to the sea for the next few days as waves are likely to be 3-5 metres (12-15 feet) high. As many as 531 fishermen, stranded in the choppy waters off the Kerala and the Lakshadweep coasts due to Cyclone Ockhi, have been rescued, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said today.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 165 families shifted from Kerala; TN writes to centre for fundsSo far 393 people from Kerala have been rescued, Vijayan said, as the state government announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the family of those who died in the storm.Of the rescued, 132 fishermen were from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, 66 from Kozhikode, 55 from Kollam, 40 from Thrissur, and 100 from Kanyakumari, Vijayan told reporters.Besides, 138 fishermen have been rescued from the Lakshadweep islands, he said. Vijayan said the Rs 10-lakh compensation would be in addition to the financial assistance of Rs four lakh being given by the fisheries department.Assistance will also be provided to those who had lost their boat and equipment, he added.In Lakshadweep, 31 relief camps have been opened in the 10 inhabited islands. So far, 1,047 people have been evacuated to the relief camps, official sources said.The naval ships, which left from the Southern Naval Command here yesterday, are likely to reach Lakshadweep this evening. The spokesman said about eight boats from Kerala with 36 people on board are reported to be adrift at sea off Kalpeni island. “The sea is very rough.. Naval ships moved as soon as we received intimation,” he said.Fifteen fishermen rescued by the Coast Guard are being brought to the Thiruvananthapuram coast, the official said.Four fishermen were rescued by a Navy chopper this morning, 20 miles off Kochi. They were taken to a naval clinic here for medical examination.INS Nireekshak rescued two fishermen off Alappuzha coast.INS Sagardhwani fished out one cadaver, 30 km off Thiruvananthapuram coast.The ship had earlier found another cadaver.The body has been handed over to the civil administration, he said. Indian Coast Guard ship Samar rescued a fishing boat with five crew members on board, the spokesman said.He said one of the crew in an advanced light helicopter (ALH) was wounded while assisting fishermen trapped in the sea off Kerala coast.The crew member, V K Verma, suffered hand injury caused by the winch wire.He, however, continued “heroically” to help the fishermen to be rescued, before himself being winched up, the spokesman said. Verma has been admitted to a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.The ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm Ockhi — which in Bengali means ‘eye’ — is likely to continue to move west- northwestwards across Lakshadweep islands during the next 24 hours and then recurve northeastwards during the subsequent 48 hours, a Met department bulletin said.
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Cyclone Ockhi: 165 families shifted from Kerala; TN writes to centre for funds

Heavy rains have hit parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, thanks to the cyclonic storm Ockhi that has hit the two south Indian states.On Friday, the Indian Navy conducted search operations after fishermen went missing off the Kerala coast.The local district administrations in Kerala shifted around 165 families living in coastal Kerala. 130 families from Chellanam, 17 from Kumbalangi and 18 from Edavanakad town of Ernakulam district were shifted, the administrations said.The deadly storm has killed seven people in Sri Lanka and affected the lives of nearly 20,000 people. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has said that it will seek central funds for the damage caused by the cyclone, with Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts being the worst hit.This was conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Chief Minister K Palaniswami during a telephone conversation between the two leaders last night, a state government release said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Depression alert over south Andaman Sea, Navy strives to resue stranded fishermen”The prime minister assured to immediately give the required assistance,” the release issued last night said.Modi dialled Palaniswami and enquired about the damage caused by the cyclone, which also battered parts of Kerala, it said.Also readCyclone Ockhi updates: More than 80 fishermen go missing; 8 dead in Tamil Nadu, KeralaThe chief minister apprised him of the various relief works going on in “full swing” in seven districts of the state and told Modi that Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli were the worst affected.He listed out various steps being taken, besides deputing senior ministers and IAS officials to oversee the relief work, the release added.Efforts were being undertaken on a “war footing” while power supply was being restored. The Coast Guard’s help was being used to rescue 30 fishermen stranded in the sea even as 76 of them had been already rescued, Palaniswami said.The state will send a report to the Centre seeking funds after carrying out a detailed assessment of the damage caused by the cyclone, which has crippled life in Kanyakumari district, he told the Prime Minister.Cyclone Ockhi, which in Bengali means ‘eye’, had yesterday intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and moved to the Arabian Sea.The state government yesterday said that over 1,200 people affected by the cyclone in Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli districts have been lodged in relief camps.With Agency Inputs
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Cyclone Ockhi claims 4 lives in Tamil Nadu

Four persons were killed when heavy spells of rain accompanied by squally winds lashed Kanyakumari district in Southern Tamil Nadu under the influence of cyclonic storm Ockhi on Thursday.A deep depression in the Bay of Bengal intensified into cyclone Ockhi in the Comorin area, about 70 km south of Kanyakumari on Thursday morning, said Director, Regional Meteorological Centre, S Balachandran told reporters.The storm is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm and to move west-northwestwards towards Lakshadweep Island in the next 24 hours, he said, adding the cyclone is expected to have a wind speed of 65-75 km per hour and that the sea will be rough.With several trees uprooted by the squally winds, the normal life in Kanyakumari district came to a halt. The power supply has been disrupted in most parts of the district with snapping of the electricity cables by the uprooted trees. A couple of trains, originating and passing through this district suffered partial to full cancellation, even as some of them were rescheduled, Southern Railway officials said. Local administration employed personnel to remove uprooted trees even as the movement of vehicular traffic was affected.Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami assured all assistance to the cyclone-affected people at the earliest. “The state government is taking all the measures to ensure relief reaches the affected people as soon as possible. People need not worry as the ministers and seniors officials are deputed to oversee the relief works,” he said in a statement. He also noted that to carry out the relief works on the war footing, two teams of National Disaster Response Force comprising 60 members each and a team of State Disaster Response Force comprising 70 members have been rushed to the district.Superintendent of police of Kanyakumari district M Durai said all the four persons including a woman was killed by uprooted trees in different parts of the district.People living in low-lying areas have been shifted to temporary shelters. The Collector has asked residents to stay indoors and also requested fishermen not to venture into the sea.Sajjan Singh R Chavan, Kanyakumari Collector, said that people from low-lying areas have been shifted to shelters. He also dismissed rumours on tsunami. “Because of the cyclone, the wave height has been higher. We have already clarified that there is no chance of tsunami as some rumours doing the rounds suggested. We have already told fishermen not to venture into the sea. We have evacuated people from low-lying areas into shelters and also asked people not to leave their homes,” he said.Tsunami rumoursAfter rumours of cyclone triggering tsunami started doing the round, Kanyakumari Collector SSR Chavan clarified that though the wave length is higher, there is no chance of any tsunami.
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Cyclone Ockhi: Torrential rains in Tamil Nadu,Kerala; eight dead

Torrential rains pounded southern districts of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Kerala crippling life and claiming eight lives — four each in the two states — as a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal intensified into cyclonic storm ‘Ockhi’ on Thursday.Both the state governments put the official machinery on high alert as the cyclone, lying 60 kms south of Kanyakumari, was forecast to dump more rains in south Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the next 24 hours. The storm was expected to move toward the Lakshadweep archipelago and hit the islands on December 2. A bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department said gale wind speed reaching 65-75 kmph gusting to 85 kmph was very likely along and off South Kerala during next 48 hours and along and off south Tamil Nadu during next 24 hours.Fishermen in coastal regions in southern parts of the two states were advised not to venture into sea for the next 24 hours, it said. Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary in the Earth Sciences ministry, said in New Delhi that Lakshadweep in the southern part of the Arabian Sea will start experiencing heavy rainfall and strong winds from tomorrow. “It will hit the islands on December 2,” Rajeevan said. Tamil Nadu government deployed state and national disaster response force teams in Kanyakumari district, which bore the brunt of the rain fury.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 4 killed in Kanyakumari, storm likely to intensify in next 24 hoursIt asked officials to shelter people living in low lying areas in the southern districts in multi-purpose evacuation centres. Chief Minister K Palaniswami, who reviewed the situation, said in Chennai state Ministers and senior IAS officials have been assigned to affected districts to monitor relief work. Also, electricity personnel with necessary equipment have been rushed to restore power distribution that was affected due to trees falling over electric poles, Palaniswami said.Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management R B Udhaya Kumar, deputed to Kanyakumari to take up relief work on a war footing, said people in the affected areas have been shifted to safer places. He said nearly 3,000 electric poles have been uprooted in the district, affecting power supply. Besides Kanyakumari, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts were among those battered by the rains.Educational institutions remained closed in southern districts such as Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Viruthunagar and Thanjavur. Three men and a woman were killed when trees fell on them in different areas in Kanyakumari district, officials said. In Kerala, the state government put the official machinery on a high alert and ordered the evacuation of people living within 100 metres from the coast and also sought help from the Navy, Coast Guard and the Air Force to assist people in distress.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held discussions through video conferencing with the Collectors of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alapuzha, Pathnamthitta, Idukki and Ernakulam districts and gave them necessary directions to take steps by coordinating various government agencies. The state reported four rain-related deaths, including an elderly couple who were electrocuted when they came into contact with a snapped live wire in front of their house at Kattakada near Thiruvananthapuram.The rains accompanied by gusty winds left a trail of destruction in Kanyakumari district, in the southernmost tip of the country, uprooting more than 500 trees, State Disaster Management Agency said. “Do not come out of homes in Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, and Tirunelveli stay safe indoors and take precautions do not panic,” it said in a tweet. Southern Railway said it has partially cancelled some trains in Tirunelveli-Kanyakumari-Thiruvananthapuram sector.Due to bad weather, a scheduled two-day programme of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, which was to begin tomorrow in Kerala, has been cancelled, party sources said. Thiruvananthapuram and its coastal stretch were witnessing heavy rains accompanied by strong winds since this morning. In several places, electric posts got uprooted. Vizhinjam coastal police said they received information that at least 57 fishermen, who had put out to sea from Thumba to Pozhiyur since yesterday, were yet to return. Twenty nine traditional boats which had set out from Poonthura were also out in the sea, police said. A Kochi report said Navy deployed four ships and two aircraft to assist in the search and rescue of fishermen onboard six boats and a marine Engineering vessel reported to be missing in the sea near Vizhinjam. The Southern Naval Command was also gearing up for any humanitarian assistance and disaster relief that may be required in view of the cyclone in the southern parts of Kerala, a Defence release said.
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