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Heavy rains are back in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and have claimed ten lives. Nearly 90 fishermen have gone missing as a depression above the Bay of Bengal turned into a cyclonic storm. India Meteorological Department (IMD)issued a cyclone warning for South Kerala, and adjoining districts of south Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep Islands.
Cyclone Ockhi, meteorologists say, is heading for Lakshadweep and is unlikely to make landfall in India. The worst-affected districts were Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam where several trees were uprooted.
Here are top 10 things you must know:
1. MeT on the cyclone
The metrological office said that heavy rains and winds in the southern districts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu were due to a depression formed over southwest Bay of Bengal near the Sri Lanka coast.
IMD said the cyclonic storm Ockhi has intensified into a severe cyclone and lies at about 110 kilometre northeast of island Minicoy and likely to cross Lakshadweep during next 24 hours. The Met has forecast heavy rains for Friday in southern Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep and also parts of Nicobar Islands.
2. Cyclone Ockhi claims 10 lives
In Kollam, a man died after a tree fell on an auto rickshaw he was in. At Vizhinjam, a woman was crushed. Two were electrocuted in rural Trivandrum and a woman died in a hospital after a tree fell on the house she lived in.
3. Fisherman go missing, several areas without electricity
80 fisherman and 50 boats have gone missing since Thursday. The Met office advised fishermen not to venture into the sea along and off south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala coasts and Lakshadweep Islands. Over 800 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas of Kanyakumari. Several areas are without electricity. The deadly storm has killed seven people in neighbouring Sri Lanka and affected the lives of nearly 20,000 people.
5. Kerala and Tamil Nadu schools shut:
The state governments declared a holiday for educational institutions for the day. Schools in Chennai, Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, Kancheepuram, Villupuram, Madurai, Theni, Thanjavur and Thiruvarur will remain closed today.
6. Flights cancelled/Rescheduled; Trains cancelled
Indian Railways cancelled at least 12 trains. Spicejet issued an advisory to its passengers on the status of flights to and from Tuticorin. It said, "Due to bad weather at Tuticorin (TCR), all departures/arrivals and their consequential flights might get affected. Passengers are requested to keep a check on their flight status".
7. Navy to the rescue
Six warships and two Coast Guard vessels have been deployed in the area. Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF - with about 60 personnel - have also been sent to Kanyakumari for rescue and relief operations. Another team of 47 will be on standby in Kochi in Kerala to help out in Lakshadweep if needed. A P8I aircraft, the Navy Dornier and the Coast Guard Dornier have also been deployed for the same. Helicopters are kept ready on standby.
8. Nirmala Sitharam on Twitter
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharam tweeted, "For Search & Rescue (SAR) off Kanyakumari Indian Coast Guard deploying 2 OPVs in the area, and 1 OPV is being deployed ex Toothukudi. Additional Dornier sorties will be taken up from dawn".
In a series of tweets, Sitharaman further informed that six warships and two coast guard ships have been deployed along with additional air effort.
9. Shashi Tharoor, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan's response
Responding to the heavy rains lashing the state, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday instructed district collectors to be on alert and coordinate workings of government agencies involved in the rescue operations.
District collectors of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Idukki and Ernakulam also informed Vijayan about the losses due to rains. The chief minister has asked them to shift people away from disaster-prone areas.
Shashi Tharoor, MP for Thiruvananthapuram, tweeted, "Spoke Indian Coast Guard commandant in Chennai Neeraj Tiwari. Search and rescue ships and aircraft deployed since 0630 to look for missing fishermen. Sea state 5 declared with waves over 4 metres. Reports say some have made it safely to land overnight. Efforts continue."
Spoke w/ @IndiaCoastGuard commandant in Chennai Neeraj Tiwari. Search&rescue ships&aircraft deployed since 0630 to look for missing fishermen. Sea state 5 declared with waves over 4metres. Reports say some have made it safely to land overnight. Efforts continue. #CycloneOckhi— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) December 1, 2017
10. Rahul Gandhi's address cancelled
The two-day visit of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who was to address a party meeting on the seashore near the airport here on Friday, has been postponed on account of the heavy rains.
A fisherman was rescued from sea off Vizhinjam (Kerala) coast by @IndiaCoastGuard ship.— Raksha Mantri (@DefenceMinIndia) November 30, 2017
Two Coast Guard Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessels, Two Interceptor Boats and Aircraft pressed have been deployed for Search & Rescue operations by @IndiaCoastGuard #CycloneOckhi pic.twitter.com/uiDXLPwCmE
Take a look at the #rainfall figures across #TamilNadu #Kerala #Lakshadweep #CycloneOckhi #Weather #cyclone1 #Chennai #Chennairains #CycloneAlert #Ockhi #Cyclone @tnsdma @karthickselvaa @firstpost @SuryanFM @CMOKerala @ndmaindia @ShashiTharoor @archvivekh @Nidhi pic.twitter.com/yIntvT1QBQ— SkymetWeather (@SkymetWeather) December 1, 2017
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA): Do's and Don'ts
1. Before cyclone
* Ignore rumours. Stay calm. Don't panic
* Keep your mobile phones charged to ensure connectivity; use SMS
* Listen to radio, watch TV, read newspapers for weather updates
* Keep your documents and valuables in water-proof containers
* Prepare an emergency kit with essential items for safety and survival
* Secure your house; carry out repairs; don't leave sharp objects loose
* Keep cattle/animals unties to ensure their safety
During and after cyclone
A) If indoors
* Switch off electrical mains and gas connection
* Keep doors and windows shut
* If your house is unsafe, leave early before the onset of a cyclone
* Listen to radio; rely only on official warnings
* Drink boiled/chlorinated water
B) If Outdoors
* Do not enter damaged buildings
* Watch out for broken electric poles and wires, and other sharp objects
* Seek a safe shelter as soon as possible