Cyclone Ockhi intensified further on Sunday, December 3, as it shifted west-northwards towards Tamil Nadu (TN), as per the prediction of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday.
Local reports have said the cyclone has claimed over 20 lives in India and Sri Lanka.
The Chennai Meteorological Department predicted on Sunday that Chennai and Puducherry are likely to receive heavy rainfall in the next 24 hours.
While over 120 fishermen are still missing, around 500 fishermen have been rescued by the combined search operation of Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard (ICJ) and the Air Force (IAF), who have been working to that end since November 30.
#CycloneOchki Response update . @IndiaCoastGuard Ship with 19 rescued fishermen from high sea off Colachel (Kanyakumari) with salvaged vessel under tow heading towards harbor for safe disembarkation of fisher-folks @DefenceMinIndia @SpokespersonMoD pic.twitter.com/YymyZm0Mbc— Indian Coast Guard (@IndiaCoastGuard) December 3, 2017
According to the IMD's 9 am forecast for Sunday: "The Cyclone Ockhi is over southeast Arabian Sea and moved north-northwestwards with a speed of 14 kmph during past six hours near Latitude 11.7º N and Longitude 69.2º E, about 390 km west-northwest of Amini Divi, 910 km south-southwest of Mumbai and 1120 km south-southwest of Surat."
Cyclone ‘OCKHI’ over SE Arabian Sea moved north-northwestwards with a speed of 14 kmph during past 06 hours near Latitude 11.7º N and Longitude 69.2º E, about 390 km west-northwest of Amini Divi, 910 km south-southwest of Mumbai and 1120 km south-southwest of Surat. pic.twitter.com/E2R9Vsvfa9— IMD-Weather (@IMDWeather) December 3, 2017
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday evening said around 900 fishermen reached Maharashtra's Sindhudurg coast and are safe. One of his tweets read: "In all 68 fishing boats, out of which 66 are from Kerala and two from Tamil Nadu, have reached with total 952 fishermen on board. All are safe. [sic]"
In all 68 fishing boats have reached, out of which 66 are from Kerala and 2 from Tamil Nadu with total 952 fisherman on board.— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) December 2, 2017
All are safe.
Maharashtra will completely look after everyone till weather permits them to go back. @nsitharaman @BJP4Keralam
I’ve given orders to Maharashtra Maritime Board and Collector, Sindhudurg dist to make all arrangements for the stranded fishermen.— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) December 2, 2017
Local authorities are already with them and taking care of all arrangements to make everyone feel at home! https://t.co/Eh7U2smtco
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami on Saturday had word with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh as heavy rains lashed the coastal state.
The TN chief minister discussed the concerns of fishing villages in the state, where the families of fishermen have reportedly claimed around 100 boats had ventured into the deep sea two-three days ago and have not returned yet.
#CycloneOchki Response update. @IndiaCoastGuard Ship Rescued 03 fishermen from a stranded and distressed fishing vessel named Salaithanne from #Kollam 62 Nautical Miles off Quilon , administered First Aid and are safe @DefenceMinIndia @SpokespersonMoD pic.twitter.com/msWIT8Im8O— Indian Coast Guard (@IndiaCoastGuard) December 3, 2017
Palaniswami stressed in his request to Singh that the state disaster management team needs the assistance of the Centre, and on Saturday evening asked for the deployment of helicopters along with Indian Navy so the fishermen who went missing from those 100 boats can be located.
Meanhwhile, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be visit the cyclone-affected regions of Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari in Kerala and TN, respectively, on Sunday evening.
Sitharaman on Saturday released a fact sheet on her Twitter handle which showed the number of fishermen saved by the ICJ, Navy and IAF along with the details of rescue vessels deployed and the aircrafts in place for the operation.
Sitharaman also announced the numbers of fishermen who have taken shelter in ports in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa and Lakshwadeep. She said that 89 boats "comprising 1,154 fishermen from several states mainly from Kerala and Tamil Nadu have taken shelter in various ports of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa & Lakshwadeep. [sic]"
Thousands from the coastal regions of South India have reportedly taken shelter in relief camps of Sri Lanka as well after the death toll went up to 20.
Cyclone Ockhi has so far claimed 13 lives in the neighbouring island nation, which equals the death toll of 13 from Tamil nadu and Kerala combined.
The National Disaster Management Agency on Sunday morning issued an alert to fishermen along Gujarat and Mumbai coasts against the cyclone Ockhi, warning them not to venture into the deep sea.
Lat 12.3º N & Long 68.9º E, about 440 km west-northwest of Amini Divi, 870 km south-southwest of Mumbai & 1070 km south-southwest of Surat.It is very likely to move north-northwestwards for some more time & then recurve northeastwards towards south Gujarat coast during next 72hrs— NDMA India (@ndmaindia) December 3, 2017
Also, given the level of destruction and intense weather conditions, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has reportedly asked the Central Government to declare the cyclone a national calamity.
Meanwhile, the walls built by the Mangalore state authorities to control the flow of the sea water in Uchila and Ullal in Karnataka was washed away by strong tides and the water entered the residential areas and the streets.