Cyclone Ockhi: Rajnath calls up CMs of Tamil Nadu, Kerala

New Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today called up Tamil Nadu and Kerala chief ministers and assured them of all help in dealing with the situation arising out of Cyclone Ockhi while the National Crisis Management Committee reviewed rescue and relief operations. Singh spoke to Edappadi K Palaniswami and Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively, about the situation in areas affected by the cyclone, a home ministry official said.

He also called up the administrator of Lakshadweep, Farooq Khan, and enquired about the situation in the islands. The Centre is providing all possible assistance to these states and union territories and the rescue and relief operations are going on in full swing, the official said. The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, has reviewed rescue and relief operations being carried out in high seas and coastal areas hit by Cyclone Ockhi.

In a series of meetings, the NCMC took stock of the situation in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Lakshadweep, an official said today. The cyclone has ravaged a large part of coastal areas there. Apart from the cabinet secretary, representatives of the ministries of defence, home, and earth sciences, and the National Disaster Management Authority attended the meetings being held since yesterday.

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. The death toll in rain-related incidents in Kerala had risen to 19. More than 600 fishermen, stranded at sea off the Kerala coast, had been rescued, official sources said.

Naval ships, helicopters, Coast Guard vessels and Air Force planes are engaged in the rescue and relief operations and efforts are on to trace some 100 missing fishermen. A meteorological department bulletin yesterday said Cyclone Ockhi had moved further north-north-westwards at a speed of 12kmph and lay centred at about 440km west-north-west of Amindivi (Lakshadweep), 870km south-south-west of Mumbai and 1,070km south-south-west of Surat.

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