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Cyclone Ockhi: Death Toll Mounts to 39, Govt Says Would Have no Impact on Gujarat

The cyclonic storm, which is expected to make landfall near Surat on Tuesday midnight, is slowing down and would have no impact in Gujarat, the home ministry said.

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Updated:December 5, 2017, 11:30 PM IST
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Cyclone Ockhi: Death Toll Mounts to 39, Govt Says Would Have no Impact on Gujarat
A man stands at Marine Drive during high tide in Mumbai on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)
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New Delhi: The home ministry on Tuesday said 39 people have died and 167 fishermen were missing after cyclone Ockhi hit Tamil Nadu and Kerala coasts while 809 others were swept away to Maharashtra.

It also said the cyclone, which is expected to make landfall near Surat on Tuesday midnight, is slowing down and would have no impact in Gujarat, where the first of the two-phased assembly elections is due four days later.

"As of now, 10 people lost their lives in Tamil Nadu and 29 others in Kerala. Even though the exact number of missing persons were not known, as per available information, whereabouts of 74 fishermen in Tamil Nadu and 93 fishermen in Kerala is not known yet," joint secretary Sanjeev Kumar Jindal said.

A total of 556 fishermen were also rescued by relief and rescue teams from seas. The state governments are verifying with the affected villages to find the exact number of missing fishermen. Altogether 809 fishermen with their boats from Tamil Nadu and Kerala were swept away and reached Maharashtra coast where they were provided food and shelter.

While 33 tourists, both domestic and foreign, were safe in Lakshadweep, 250 fishermen could also reach safely in the islands from the high seas after being hit by the cyclone. Jindal said two merchant ships with eight sailors each were rescued and brought to Lakshadweep by Navy and Coast guard teams.

Asked whether the cyclone would affect the election process in Gujarat, Jindal said there was no such possibilities as it has already slowed down. Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) asked fishermen in both eastern and western coasts not to venture out in the sea for the next three days as heavy rainfall is expected in many areas due to cyclone Ockhi.

Asking people not to panic in case of a cyclone alert, the NDMA said in an advisory that fishermen along and off Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu coasts should not venture into the sea from December 6 to 8 while fishermen along and off Andaman and Nicobar Islands are advised not to venture into sea till Wednesday.

Fishermen living along and off South Gujarat and North Maharashtra coasts have been advised not to venture into the sea till Wednesday morning.

The Met department said the cyclonic storm will move over east-central Arabian sea and move further north-northeastwards with a speed of 21 kmph and lay centred over east-central Arabian sea at latitude 17.5 N and Longitude 70.4 E, about 480 km southwest of Surat and 300 km west-southwest of Mumbai.

The NDMA said light to moderate rainfall is expected at most places in Maharashtra with isolated heavy rainfall likely over north Konkan, Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, Greater Mumbai, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune districts.

It is very likely that the cyclone will to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by Tuesday night.
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