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Cyclone Ockhi claims 10 lives; heavy rains in Kerala, TN: 10 highlights

The worst-affected districts were Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam where several trees were uprooted

Surbhi Gloria Singh  |  New Delhi 

Heavy rains are back in 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 warning for South Kerala, and adjoining districts of south and Islands.

Ockhi, meteorologists say, is heading for 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 were due to a depression formed over southwest Bay of Bengal near the Sri Lanka coast.

said the cyclonic storm Ockhi has intensified into a severe and lies at about 110 kilometre northeast of island Minicoy and likely to cross during next 24 hours. The Met has forecast heavy rains for Friday in southern and and also parts of Nicobar Islands.

2. 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 and south Kerala coasts and 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 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 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 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."

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.

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

First Published: Fri, December 01 2017. 10:52 IST