Cyclone Ockhi: 71 from Tamil Nadu among 357 fishers rescued

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"A total of 243 fishermen in Tamil Nadu, 250 in Kerala and 1047 persons in Lakshadweep have been rescued so far".

Yesterday, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the reports of thousands of fishermen stranded in the cyclone were false and the number of missing Tamil Nadu fishermen was 97.

Yesterday the India Meteorological Department claimed that cyclone Ockhi would intensify in the next 36 hours and move Northwest in the next three to four days.

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They rescued 19 rescued fishermen from the high seas off the Colachel coast in Kanyakumari besides salvaging their vessel and brought them to safety in the harbour.

According to the fishing community in Kanyakumari, over 1,000 fishermen went into the sea before Ockhi struck the southern districts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The navy, air force and coast guard personnel continued their search and rescue operations for missing fishermen for the second day on Saturday. "We were thrown into the sea by the cyclone (Ockhi)".

"I have spoken to Maharashtra Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) to see that these fishermen are given the space to remain there till the sea is safe for them to return", said Sitharaman.

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Asked about some bodies of fishermen being washed ashore in neighbouring Kerala, Mr. Jayakumar said it was hard to identify the bodies since they were decomposed.

In addition, 80 fishing boats from Kerala, 45 from Karnataka and 15 from Goa have reached Devgarh, Malvan, Meriya Bandar and Karwar ports safely.

"As Coast Guard continues its efforts for rescue of stranded fishermen at sea, two ships of Coast Guard viz. ICGS Sarathi and ICGS Samar have saved ten lives by rendering timely assistance and taking survivors onboard", said a press release by the Indian Coast Guard.

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"I will keep my focus on the rescue and search operations", said the Minister and added that she would meet her colleagues, who handle the agriculture and home portfolios and pass on the message about the situation here.

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