Rescue and relief operations by Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guards and the Indian Air Force underway. Relief material being off loaded by boats for MinicoySpokesperson Navy Twitter

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.

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."

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]"

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.

fishermen 11111
4 Fishermen rescued & brought to safety, off Trivandrum coast by #IAF ALH aircraft, Today. This was the second Search & Rescue mission of the day, earlier one MI17 was launched.Indian Air Force Twitter

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.

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.