Cyclone Ockhi: 357 fishermen have been rescued so far, says Sitharaman

Cyclone Ockhi: 357 fishermen have been rescued so far, says Sitharaman

The death toll in rain-related incidents in Kerala rose to 19 even as more than 600 fishermen, stranded at sea off the state's coast, were rescued, official sources said on Sunday. India's defence forces are continuing efforts to airlift fishermen in the area who have been caught in the cyclone.

Three bodies were brought here, while three were found out off the coast of Kollam.

The NCMC is monitoring the situation and has provided all necessary help to the affected states and union territory, the official said, adding if necessary, additional help would be provided.

"A total of 55 people were rescued today taking the total to 145".

In fact, a visit by the chief minister to the area on the very first day of rescue operations, though late, would have gone a long way in winning the confidence of those affected. The fishermen's families have launched a parallel rescue operation, as they claimed to know the sea better than anyone else.

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The state department also said that at least 690 people have been rescued so far, while 96 were still missing. "The Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force began their work and many were saved", she said. Police had a tough time removing the protesters.

"The authorities have failed miserably and the relief camps are also poorly managed with even the basic facilities not available".

Defence Minister reached Kanyakumari on Sunday to take stock of the situation in the wake of the cyclonic storm, which has tormented the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and now Lakshadweep islands. But Vijayan continued to brush aside all allegations and kept insisting that his government received the central alert "only around Thursday noon". What the Centre will do is to provide funds.

Meanwhile, the Congress-led opposition and the BJP slammed the Vijayan government for the "irresponsible manner" in which the tragedy was handled and while Ramesh Chennithala, the Leader of Opposition, said that the rescue and relief operations could not take place smoothly as there is an ongoing cold war between the CPM and the CPI, state BJP president Kummanam Rajasekheran said the state government failed miserably. By the time he made a decision to visit those affected by the cyclone, it was too late for the CPM leader as the anger of the fisherfolk knew no bounds when they railed against him at the Vizhinjam harbour here.

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