Ockhi can’t be national disaster

Ockhi can’t be national disaster

Cyclone Ockhi, which has caused widespread damage in Kerala-'s Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts, will not be termed a national disaster, Union...

Thiruvananthapuram: Cyclone Ockhi, which has caused widespread damage in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts, will not be termed a national disaster, Union Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons said on Sunday.

On Saturday, the Kerala government decided to approach the Centre for declaring Ockhi a national disaster. “We have received a memorandum from the State government... But, there is no such scheme for the Centre (to declare Cyclone Ockhi as a national calamity),” he said.

Alphons held a meeting with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other cabinet colleagues earlier in the day to discuss the rescue and rehabilitation operations. The cyclone has claimed the lives of 10 people while 115 were still reported missing.

According to Vijayan, 395 fishermen were saved in a biggest-ever joint rescue operation. The total number of rescued fishermen so far is 475.
"This was possible only perfect coordination between various rescue agencies," the Chief Minister said.

Though the Union minister earlier backed the Kerala government’s contention that they had not received any prior warning about the cyclone, he later clarified that the Central agencies had given necessary alerts on November 28 and 29 itself.

Meanwhile, a fresh spell of heavy rain is in store in some areas of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry with a low-pressure area forming over south Andaman sea, which is "very likely" to become a depression over the Bay of Bengal. The system is likely to move towards Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh in the next three to four days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Nirmala Sitharaman in Chennai
A total of 357 fishermen, including 71 from Tamil Nadu, stranded in sea due to Cyclone Ockhi, were rescued, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Sunday, according to a Chennai report. In addition to the fishermen from Tamil Nadu, 248 from Kerala and 38 from Lakshadweep Islands, were also rescued by the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard personnel, she said. Sitharaman is in Chennai to visit cyclone-hit Kanyakumari to take stock of the situation.

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