The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that the Cyclonic storm ‘Ockhi’ will weaken gradually from Sunday. “The very severe cyclonic storm ‘Ockhi’ over Lakshadweep area and adjoining Southeast Arabian Sea further moved northwestwards with a speed of 15 kmph during past 6 hours and lay centred at 2330 hrs IST of December 2, 2017, over the southeast Arabian Sea near Latitude 11.1º N and Longitude 69.7º E, about 330 km west of Amini Divi. The system is very likely to weaken gradually from today the December 3, 2017, morning,” reported ANI as the IMD saying.
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Naval ships from Mumbai, INS Chennai, Kolkata and Trikand have also sailed out for Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands (LAM) with HADR material sufficient for approximately 5,000 people and would last for more than seven days. According to the defence release, in addition to aircraft from Kochi, a P8I aircraft from Arakkonam with greater reach is being used to maintain a close vigil over the sailing ships and provide inputs, if any. Areas close to the coast would be continuously monitored using Dornier aircraft from Kochi.
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.
Meanwhile, a defence release said that INS Shardul from Kochi was heading towards Minicoy Island with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) "bricks", which include water and dry provisions. The ship also consists of medical equipment, blankets, generators, salvage equipment, desalination and decontamination kits. The relief material would sustain 2,000 people for over a period of seven days, the release said.
"We have not got adequate help from the Navy and the Coast Guard. They failed to respond promptly to the adverse situation," alleged Lok Sabha MP PP Mohammed Faizal. He also said that he had spoken to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who assured him that a team of officials would be sent to the island. A defence spokesman, however, refused to comment on the allegations.
Lok Sabha MP PP Mohammed Faizal alleged that the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard failed to respond promptly in tackling the crisis due to cyclone Ockhi, which left a trail of destruction in the Lakshadweep islands. The Lakshadweep MP said he would write to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in this regard.
Cyclone Ockhi has claimed at least 13 lives so far. The Maharashtra government has ordered special arrangements for fishermen stranded after the cyclone hit Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Heavy rains continue to batter coastal areas of Kerala and south Tamil Nadu on Sunday morning, with the Weather Department predicting that the cyclone will intensify further in the next 24 hours.
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