Heavy rain continues in Kerala, south T.N.

The relatives of fishermen, who were reported missing, in Thiruvananthapuram.

The relatives of fishermen, who were reported missing, in Thiruvananthapuram.   | Photo Credit: S. Gopakumar

High waves swamp large tracts of land, displace hundreds of families; 218 fishermen rescued and brought home

Heavy rain continued to batter coastal areas of Kerala and south Tamil Nadu on Friday, crippling normal life, even as Cyclone Ockhi lay centered off the Lakshadweep islands. The death toll in the two States in rain-related incidents rose to 11.

The tropical cyclone developed into a very severe storm, even as it veered off towards the Lakshadweep islands on a path predicted by weathermen.

By evening, the storm lay centred 90 km north of Minicoy and 220 km south-southeast of Amini island.

Though the strong winds unleashed by the cyclone over Kerala abated, the rain picked up in strength by Friday noon, leading to flooding of low-lying areas.

High waves pounded the entire Kerala coast, swamping large tracts of land and displacing hundreds of families.

The death toll in incidents related to the storm went up to seven, with Thiruvananthapuram accounting for the highest number of five casualties.

As many as 218 fishermen who had put out to sea during the cyclone were rescued and brought to land, the Kerala government claimed on Friday night.

Kerala Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty Amma said a Navy ship had been deployed to search for 22 fishing vessels spotted off the coast of Kollam.

As many as 2,759 persons in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur were relocated to relief camps.

In Tamil Nadu, while the authorities said four persons had died due to the cyclone, unofficial sources put the figure at 10. Close to 70 personnel from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed in many pockets to assist the needy and evacuation drive was on at many locations.

Schools and colleges remained closed in Kanniyakumari district, where power lines were not yet restored in many pockets. As a result, mobile communication was affected. Many residents relied on boat services as low-lying areas were inundated. However, authorities were able to move essential commodities during the forenoon.

Though the intensity was not that heavy in neighbouring Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts, continuous rain resulted in Papanasam dam recording 451 mm rainfall.

Out of the 11 dams in Tirunelveli district, six had reached the maximum storage level.

(With P. Sudakar in Tirunelveli)

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 6:19:17 AM |

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