Cyclone Ockhi in Kerala: Unofficial death toll rises to 30; rescue operations on for 92 missing fishermen

Unofficial death toll from Cyclone Ockhi doubles with 15 bodies being found across Kerala on Sunday; fate of 92 fishermen remains unknown.

Published: 04th December 2017 08:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2017 09:23 AM   |  A+A-

A woman crying in front of the picture of her 16-year-old nephew who died in Cyclone Ockhi at Poonthura in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. (Express Photo | Kaviyoor Santosh)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The human toll from cyclone Ockhi in Kerala has climbed to 30. On Sunday, at least 15 bodies were discovered during search and rescue operation across the state.

However, Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma claimed the total number of deaths has not crossed 15. “Seven bodies were found during the search operation on Sunday and that put the toll at 14. All the dead found on Sunday were from Thiruvananthapuram,” she said. Three bodies that washed ashore at Kollam were found to be those of Thiruvananthapuram natives. One was found by the Navy, while fishermen stumbled upon the rest. The bodies were shifted to the General Hospital mortuary.

According to the minister, 84 people are yet to be traced. Out of this, 29 people are from Poonthura coast, which suffered heavy casualties in the cyclone.The State Revenue Control Room put the number of deaths at 19. The figure was arrived at before one more death was reported at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. The unidentified body was sent from Poonthura.

So far, 690 fishermen have been rescued from the sea, with the bulk of those hailing from Thiruvananthapuram (197). Close to 1,600 families have taken shelter in 37 relief camps opened in six districts.  The financial toll from the cyclone has been pegged at Rs 17.28 crore so far.

92 still missing; wait continues

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has decided to continue the rescue operations till the last fisherman stranded in the sea owing to cyclone Ockhi is brought home. A high-level meeting convened here by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan decided to intensify the search operations with the cooperation of the Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard. Vijayan said as many as 400 fishermen were rescued on a single day, and the government will work with the same vigour to continue the rescue operations.

According to the Revenue-Fisheries Department records, 92 fishermen were missing. It has to be seen if any of them had landed on other coasts, Vijayan said.

Union Minister for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam, Revenue Minister E Chandrashekaran, Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma, Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, Chief Secretary K M Abraham, Revenue Secretary P H Kurian, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) regional director S Sudevan and officers from the Coast Guard and Navy were present at the meeting.

Kannanthanam said the defence forces along with the Coast Guard has done a marvellous job in the rescue operations. The Chief Secretary Abraham the various warnings the government received and the rescue operations that were taken. He said it was only at 12 pm on November 30 a cyclone warning was received. The Coast Guard and the Navy had acted based on the request of the state government, he said.


One more body retrieved in Kasargod

Kasargod: The body of a fisherman who had ventured into sea nearly 15 days ago was retrieved here on Sunday morning, said the district administration authorities. They said the body was found in the deep sea and the police are yet to identify the deceased.In the aftermath of the cyclone Ockhi, 21 boats carrying nearly 100 fishermen were stuck in the sea for five hours earlier on Friday. They were however rescued by Friday evening. Additional District Magistrate Devidasan N said though the sea was slightly rough on Saturday evening, the situation was back to normal by Sunday morning.“Around 30 families belonging to Pallikkara were shifted to a nearby church hall. They were shifted back to their respective homes yesterday. No more shifting will now be required” he said. He also said the district administration was taking steps to ensure people were safe.


Train services to be regulated

Thiruvananthapuram: The Railways has said it would take two more days to restore track near Parassala which was damaged owing to landslide. Some of the trains through the Thiruvananthapuram-Nagercoil section have been regulated till then. To and fro trips of Punalur-Palakkad Palaruvi Express will be cancelled on Monday while Punalur-Kanniyakumari Passenger will be cancelled on Tuesday. On Sunday (December 3), Kollam-Chennai Egmore Ananthapuri Express had a delayed start of one hour while the trips of Kollam-Kanniyakumari MEMU were cancelled.

High drama in Alappuzha

Alappuzha witnessed high drama on Sunday as hundreds of people blocked NH-66, the Alappuzha-Arthunkal coastal road and train services to protest against the delay in operations to rescue five missing fishermen from Thumpoly. Anxious villagers were up in arms as their long wait for news about the missing fishermen failed to bear any fruit.

Trains blocked

While a section of protesting people at Alappuzha blocked the coastal road from Alappuzha to Arthunkal, another group lay siege to the NH in Thumpoly. At the same time, some youth from coastal areas staged a dharna at Alappuzha railway station by blocking the tracks, disrupting train services for a few minutes.

News brings relief

The Coast Guard sent a message to the collectorate saying the missing fishermen from Alappuzha had been rescued around 300 nautical miles off the Thrissur coast. Collector T V Anupama conveyed the message to people, who finally breathed a sigh of relief.

  • Nearly 500 people living across Kozhikode affected by Ockhi. The district administration throws open 11 relief camps. The camps will be open for three days.
  • Beypore MLA V K C Mammad Koya and District Collector U V Jose visit relief camps in Kozhikode and review the facilities there
  • 66 of the 68 boats that arrived in Sindhudurg in Maharashtra are from Kerala.
  • 28 boats from Kerala have arrived in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra
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