THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala was not adequately warned about the approaching cyclone Ockhi, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Wednesday. At a post-Cabinet briefing, he said the state was alerted about the cyclone only at noon on November 30. He said there were no lapses on the part of the state government in reacting to the situation. According to the Chief Minister, the cyclone protocol of the National Disaster Management Authority says warnings should be issued three days to five days in advance for every 12 hours. Information regarding the intensity, path and direction of the cyclone should be given out every hour two days in advance.
“In Ockhi’s case, this was not done,’’ he said. ‘’There was only an advisory to fishermen asking them to exercise caution when venturing into the sea on the website of Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) on November 28. But the state government did not receive any warning through e-mail or fax,” he said.
On November 29, an INCOIS advisory warned fishermen not to enter the sea. A message received from the IMD at 8.30 am on November 30 said the depression would develop into a deep depression. This message was accompanied by a map which showed that the path and direction of the depression were 170 km south of Kanniyakumari. “At that time also, the warning was that fishermen should be cautioned against venturing into the sea. The IMD missive that the depression had transformed into a cyclone was received at noon on November 30,” Vijayan said.
ACTION PROMPT, SAYS CM
Pinarayi Vijayan said the government swung into action within five minutes, alerting top officials, the media and the State Disaster Management Authority. “But by then, the fishermen had left for the sea,” he said.
Rights panel pulls up govt agencies
T’Puram: The lives of hundreds of fishermen could have been saved had the government received warning about Cyclone Ockhi on time, the state human rights commission has said. “Had the Meteorological Deaprtment, Fisheries Department and other central and state agencies intervened on time, the destruction could have been avoided, Commission acting chairperson P Mohanadas said. The Commission asked the District Collector, state police chief, Director of Meteorological Centre and Director of Fisheries Department to submit an explanation within a month on the warning issued and the lacunae in the rescue efforts.