CHENNAI: The heavy rains lashing southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala are expected to ease in the next 24 hours as the State intensified its effort to search for 100 missing fishermen.
According to the State Disaster Management Agency (SDMA), the rescue teams comprising Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force, are on the lookout for 85 fishermen from Kanniyakumari and 12 fishermen from Thoothukudi.
“Currently nine Coast Guard vessels, three naval vessels, two helicopters and two aircraft have been pressed into round-the-clock search operations,” K Satyagopal, Commissioner of the State Disaster Management Agency, told Express.
According to a release from the Ministry of Defence, around 200 fisherman with 18 boats who had taken shelter in the Minicoy and Lakshadweep Islands were rescued on Saturday.
He also said more helicopters could be pressed into service with Chief Minister ‘Edappadi’ K Palaniswami seeking intensification of search operations.
As of now, 130 fishermen have been rescued while at least 12 fishermen have lost their lives to the cyclone Okchi, which has been causing heavy rainfall in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Meanwhile, the Met department said that with the cyclone moving past the Lakshadweep Islands, the rain will fizzle out in the State in the next 24 hours.
“The southern districts of the State will receive minimal rainfall while Chennai and the coastal districts of Tiruvallur, Nagapattinam and Kancheepuram will experience overcast conditions with short spells of rains,” said S Balachandran, Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre.
Dispelling rumours on social media about another low pressure system which would hit Chennai on December 4, Balachandran said “it was too early to predict such an event.”
The Met department said that the low pressure system developing near the Andamans was over 1,500 km away and being closely monitored.
“It is a low pressure system and once it turns into a depression and takes a course, we’ll be able to predict where it will make landfall,” added Balachandran.