Cyclone Maha: Rains pound Kerala, over 1000 people shifted to relief camps

PTI

File Photo Cyclone making landfall (PTI Photo)

File Photo Cyclone making landfall (PTI Photo)

With rains pounding Kerala on Thursday due to the cyclonic storm in the Arabian sea, over 1000 people have been shifted to 11 relief camps across the state and search is on for six fishermen from north Kerala who are yet to return to shore.

The weather department has asked fishermen not to venture into the sea till November 2 until the cyclonic storm ‘Maha’ subsides.

The India Meteorological Department said ‘Maha’ has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm on Thursday and is very likely to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm over the east-central Arabian Sea during the next 24 hours.

As the cyclone intensified, the IMD said gale winds very likely to increase up to 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph over the east-central Arabian Sea from midnight.

During the next 24 hours, gale wind speed reaching 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph was likely to prevail over northern parts of Lakshadweep area and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea during the subsequent 24 hours and decrease gradually.

Sea conditions over Lakshadweep area and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea will be high to very high during the next 24 hours and rough to very rough in the subsequent 24 hours.

The IMD and Kerala Disaster Management Authority have warned of extreme weather conditions in the state including heavy rains and strong winds.

“We have opened 11 relief camps and there are 346 families there. As of now, there are 1017 people in the camps. The numbers are likely to go up in the coming hours.

Most inmates are from the coastal areas as the sea is rough,” a Disaster Management Authority official told PTI.

The coast guard and other agencies are still searching for the missing boat and six fishermen from Kozhikode.

Meanwhile, five fishermen in distress after their boat began to sink off Kerala coast amid the inclement weather conditions were rescued in a coordinated operation by the Indian Coast Guard and a merchant’s vessel on Thursday.

They were rescued off Ponnani in Malappuram district, a Defence spokesman said here.

The coastal areas of Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kannur districts were mostly affected.

Three camps have been opened in Ernakulam where the authorities have shifted many families from Chellanam and Edavanakkadu, the most affected areas in the district, to safety.

“At least 10 fishing boats were damaged as the rough sea battered the coastal area in the district,” an official said.

The Fort Kochi-Vypin walkway was also damaged as heavy waves hit the shore.

K Santhosh, director of the Met Centre, Thiruvananthapuram said Kerala would receive heavy rainfall.

The Indian Navy said it was taking precautions for the safety of the people living in Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands.

Naval teams at Kavaratti, Androth and Minicoy have been directed to provide the assistance required by the Lakshadweep administration, a Defence release said.

Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre (Chennai), S Balachandran said Tamil Nadu and Puducherry received widespread rains in the last 24 hours ended 8.30 am, with
Kodanadu in the Nilgiris district recording the highest rainfall of 14 cm, followed by Coonoor (13 cm) in the same district.

About 33 places in the state and the Union Territory received heavy rains while there were very heavy rains in four locations.

In the next 24 hours, heavy rains were likely in most districts of Tamil Nadu, including those along the western ghats, he said.

(PTI)