39 dead as Cyclone Ockhi hits Tamil Nadu and Kerala
It was expected to slow down and not impact Gujarat yesterday
As many as 39 people have perished and 167 fishermen were still missing after cyclone Ockhi hit the Tamil Nadu and Kerala coasts while 809 others were swept away to Maharashtra, the Union Home Ministry said yesterday. Joint Secretary in the ministry Sanjeev Kumar Jindal also said the cyclone was slowing down and would have no impact in Gujarat, where the first of the two-phased assembly elections is due four days later. It was expected to make landfall in Surat by midnight yesterday. The cyclonic storm passed the Mumbai coast bringing rains in its wake but did not cause any damage to life or property, a senior civic official said.
DMK working president M K Stalin at a banana field badly hit by cyclone Ockhi, in Kanyakumari. Pic/PTI
"As of now, 10 people lost their lives in Tamil Nadu and 29 others in Kerala. Even though the exact number of missing persons was not known, as per available information, whereabouts of 74 fishermen in Tamil Nadu and 93 fishermen in Kerala are not known yet," Jindal told reporters here. A total of 556 fishermen were also rescued by relief and rescue teams from the sea. The state governments are verifying with the affected villages to find the exact number of missing fishermen.
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 to the islands from the high seas after being hit by the cyclone. Jindal 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 were no such possibilities as it has already slowed down. Rallies cancelled However, Cyclone Ockhi yesterday forced several political bigwigs, including BJP chief Amit Shah, to cancel their rallies in the poll-bound state.Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, however, made it to the state and addressed a rally in Kutch, while calling off three campaign meetings planned in Morbi, Dhrangadhra and Surendranagar town. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, appealed to BJP workers to extend a helping hand to those who would likely be hit by the cyclone.
No of fishermen rescued from TN and Kerala
No of fishermen swept to Maharashtra
Our Karyakartas should devote themselves to providing all possible assistance and stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens.