Around 240 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, 250 from Kerala and 1,047 people in Lakshadweep have been rescued till now from the seas in searches after Cyclone Ockhi hit the coasts, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) said.
The NCMC, headed by cabinet secretary P K Sinha, on Monday reviewed the relief and rescue operations in states and Union Territories affected by the ongoing Cyclone Ockhi.
The Committee also took stock of the preparedness in Maharashtra and Gujarat which are likely to be impacted by the cyclone. The cyclonic storm over east central Arabian Sea moved further northwards early morning on Monday. It is likely to move North-North Eastward and weaken gradually. It will then cross coasts of south Gujarat and adjoining North Maharashtra near Surat as a deep depression by midnight of December 5.
The central government have deployed 10 Coast Guard ships, three aircraft and a helicopter. The Navy and the Air Force also deployed vessels. The NCMC also took note of another depression that is forming in the South East Bay of Bengal, adjoining South Andaman Sea, and reviewed the preparedness undertaken by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Necessary advisories have been issued to fishermen and others.
The cabinet secretary held a video conference with the chief secretaries and the senior officers of the affected states and Union Territories to review the situation.
The meeting was also attended by the officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, National Disaster Management Authority, Ministry of Defence, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Ministry of Earth Sciences, IMD and others.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said search operations in the sea would continue till all fishermen from Kerala who are missing return home safe. “Search and rescue operations would continue. There would not be any dilution of operations,” she said.
The remarks came as 32 fishermen, including 11 from Thiruvananthapuram district, were rescued off the Kochi coast on the fifth day.
The number of missing on Monday came down to 92. Twenty-five are dead so far.
The minister said that fishermen who left for the sea several days before the cyclone warning have been spotted. “So I would not lose hope even for a minute,’’ she said.
She tried to clear the air about allegations that central agencies did not warn Kerala early enough. “Please listen to me peacefully… The warning was given on November 29. It was then a low depression. Then the wind gained speed from 120 to 160 kmph. At every stage we have passed on to you the warning from scientists. We started search operations from November 30…The Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force began their work and many were saved,” she said.
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