Cyclone Ockhi, which was expected to make a landfall in Maharashtra, has now moved around 40 km from the state’s coast and is expected to make a landfall in the Gulf of Khambhat and Surat on December 6. As a precautionary measure, however, the Maharashtra government has declared holiday for schools and colleges in Mumbai, Sindhudurg, Thane, Raigad and Palghar districts on Tuesday.
“Precautionary holiday declared on Tuesday for schools and colleges in Mumbai Metropolitan region, Sindhudurga, Thane, Raigad and Palghar district for the safety of the students due to serious weather predictions on #Cyclone Ockhi #MumbaiRains,” Education Minister Vinod Tawde tweeted Monday.
The Indian Coast Guard, the nodal agency for maritime search and rescue operations, has till now rescued over 180 fishermen from the seas.
“As on Monday, operations are continuing and till the filing of this report, 19 additional fishermen have been rescued from remote islands of L&M (Lakshadweep and Minicoy). Thus, a total of 183 precious lives have been saved by the Coast Guard. Even as cyclone Ockhi has now moved north of L&M islands, deployment of ships and aircraft are continuing in the area to search for the persons stranded at sea. During the ongoing search operations, the Coast Guards personnel are toiling in extremely unfavourable sea conditions and yet maintaining momentum to sustain efforts of saving lives,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.
The agency said it was assessing the impact of the cyclone in the sea area and immediately sending ships and aircraft for providing critical assistance to the fishermen. “Coast Guard District Headquarters at Cochin and Kavaratti were directed to provide necessary assistance to stranded fishermen and shepherd them to shelter areas. The Indian Coast Guard has tasked a total of 12 ships and has also pressed in the efforts of three Dornier aircraft and two helicopters for sea-air coordinated search and rescue assistance to the stranded fisherman at sea. Till now, 164 lives were saved by ships in Kerala and L&M areas,” the Coast Guard said in the press release.
In addition, Coast Guard stations along the west coast are interacting with fishermen and are assisting them with first aid and food as required.
The fishermen are being counselled to remain inside the harbours and not venture out at sea till the system dissipates. The data of fishermen in shelter areas are also being shared with the state fisheries and other authorities concerned to convey the same to their next of kin. In addition, the Coast Guard Region (West) is also disseminating adequate precautionary advisories to the state authorities of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and UT of Daman & Diu for the likelihood of re-curving of the cyclone and making landfall along south Gujarat coast near the Gulf of Khambat.
Further, the oil handling agencies in offshore development areas have also been advised to initiate cyclone contingency measures and initiate necessary evacuation of personnel from oil platforms well in time. The Indian Coast Guard has been carrying out a massive search and rescue operation since the onset of cyclone Ockhi on November 30.
The cyclonic system developed on November 27 as a well marked low depression in the southeast of Sri Lanka and further developed as deep depression while moving west north-westwards toward south Tamil Nadu, Kerala coasts and Lakshadweep islands. On November 30, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) declared it a cyclone.