Cyclone Ockhi Death Toll Reaches 19; IMD Issues Warning To Gujarat, Maharashtra

| December 4 , 2017 , 09:48 IST

The deadly Cyclone Ockhi which has claimed at least 19 lives as it lashed the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep islands is now moving towards the coasts of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

As Cyclone Ockhi approached, the Indian Meteorological Department has issued a 'very severe cyclonic storm' warning to Gujarat and Maharashtra, advising fishermen not to venture into the sea.

"Sea condition would be rough to very rough along & off north Maharashtra and South Gujarat coasts from 4th night to 6th December 2017 morning," said the IMD.

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While the meteorological department is hopeful that the deadly cyclone will start to weaken, it has issued a heavy rainfall warning for isolated places across south Gujarat on Tuesday.

 “It (Cyclone Ockhi) is very likely to weaken gradually and move north-northwestwards for some time and then recurve northeastwards towards south Gujarat coast,” the IMD said.

More than 690 people, including 357 fishermen have so far been rescued in joint operations conducted by the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Sunday as she reached Kanyakumari to take stock of the situation.

ALSO READ: Cyclone Ockhi: Navy, Coast Guard Saved 33 Kerala Fishermen

However, 96 people are still missing.

"Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force are still engaged in rescue operations to save the lives of fishermen affected by Cyclone Ockhi," the Defence Minister said.

"Information has also been passed to international safety network and foreign ships to help rescue our fishermen. Meanwhile, 68 boats have reached Maharashtra coast out of which two boats were from Tamil Nadu and others from Kerala," she said.

In response to a petition from the Kerala state government, the Centre on Sunday said that the Cyclone Ockhi is not a 'national calamity' and that all necessary assistance is being provided.