Bengaluru: An ex-gratia amount of Rs10 lakh will be paid to the kins of those who died in rain-related incidents in the past few days, owing to the depression that has turned into cyclone Ockhi in Bay of Bengal, the Kerala government said on Saturday. The state officials are tabulating the total deaths, regional reports said 10 people have died so far.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that 393 fishermen have been rescued so far, and 550 families have been evacuated to 30 relief camps. Affected fishing villages have also offered free ration for the next one week, Vijayan said.
The state has suffered officially Rs7.5 crore worth damage owing to the rains so far. The coastal belt continues to echo with anxious cries and angry protests over the remaining number of missing fishermen. According to regional news reports, 102 fishermen in Kerala 60 fishermen in Tamil Nadu are still missing in the sea. The fishermen families continue to block traffic at places such as Poonthura, a coastal hamlet near Thiruvananthapuram, agitating over their missing relatives, reported regional news channels.
The government had launched a full-fledged relief and rescue operations helmed by state ministers and disaster management officials, with the help of Coast Guard, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force since Thursday noon, when the regional disaster management authority received a cyclone warning.
Ships, dornier aircraft and helicopters of Coast Guard, apart from INS Nireekshak, INS Jamuna and INS Sagardhwani are on the sea currently, searching for the missing men battling the heavy winds and rains. Two ships, INS Shardul and INS Sharda, have headed towards Lakshadweep too, where the Ockhi has barrelled into on Saturday, claiming 14 lives so far.
Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted Ockhi to travel north towards Mumbai and Gujarat in the next 48 hours with reducing intensity. But rains will continue for the day, as per the IMD, and the fishermen have been warned not go to the sea as waves are likely to be 12 to 15 feet high.
In Tamil Nadu, districts such as Kanyakumari, Erode and Coimbatore remains on high alert, with thousands still being evacuated to makeshift camps. Even as the rains have declined, many parts of the state have not come back to normalcy. It is also facing a major power outage.
Tamil Nadu chief minister K. Palaniswami called Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday night seeking central funds for rehabilitation works and was assured all help.