Will not lose hope: Sitharaman on Cyclone Ockhi rescue ops

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Several districts in Gujarat will also receive "light rains with increased intensity", the weather forecaster said, adding, that sea conditions will become rough over north Maharashtra and Gujarat coast. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued an alert Monday, warning fishermen against venturing into the sea as coastal areas are likely to experience strong winds.

Though cyclone Ockhi moved away from Lakshadweep to Gujarat, big waves and squally winds made their presence felt along Kerala's coast.

As Cyclone Ockhi still posed threat, the coast guards in different locations continued their efforts to rescue fishermen stranded at sea, on Sunday.

Yesterday, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the reports of thousands of fishermen stranded in the cyclone were false and the number of missing Tamil Nadu fishermen was 97.

So far 393 people from Kerala have been rescued, Vijayan said, as the state government announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the family of those who died in the storm.

Meanwhile, women members of the fisher folk community held a protest in Kanyakumari district demanding that authorities intensify rescue operations to trace those caught in the deep sea in the wake of cyclone Ockhi.

She, however, refused to take questions on the criticism about the way the search operations have been carried out, since Ockhi struck off the southern coastline on November 30.

A total of 11 Indian Coast Guard ships, two aircraft and two helicopters are presently carrying out search and rescue operations off the coasts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep and Minicoy. "There are indications that low-lying areas may see a water surge intermittently at Kollam, Alappuzha, Kochi, Ponnani, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod", said KSDMA officials. So far 25 people have been rescued from Lakshadweep.

Coastal guards said 516 fishermen in the boats were safe, Manorama News reported. In the eastern seaboard region, the release said, nine ships and two aircrafts were taking up search and rescue operations.

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