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Cyclone Ockhi ravages Kerala, Laskhadweep, Lanka coasts

Thiruvananthapuram/ Kochi/ Kavaratti: As many as 531 fishermen were rescued from stormy waters off the Kerala and Lakshadweep coasts due to Cyclone Ockhi on Saturday, said Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Of these, 393 were from Kerala and 138 from the Lakshadweep islands, Vijayan added.
In Lakshadweep, houses suffered damage, coconut trees were uprooted and communication lines were disrupted as rains accompanied by strong winds lashed the islands under the influence of the cyclone. As many 31 relief camps were opened in the 10 inhabited islands. So far, 1,047 people have been evacuated to the relief camps, official sources said.
Meanwhile, the Navy and Coast Guard continued the search for missing fishermen using ships, dornier aircraft and helicopters in the "rough sea" off Kerala and Lakshadweep. While INS Nireekshak, INS Jamuna and INS Sagardhwani are continuing search and rescue operations in their designated areas along the coast off Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam, two ships INS Shardul and INS Sharda are heading towards Lakshadweep, a defence spokesman said.
The spokesman said that about eight boats from Kerala with 36 people on board were reported to be adrift at sea off Kalpeni island. "The sea is very rough.. Naval ships moved as soon as we received intimation," he said.
Fifteen fishermen rescued by the Coast Guard are being brought to the Thiruvananthapuram coast, the official said. Four fishermen were rescued by a Navy chopper this morning, 20 miles off Kochi. They were taken to a naval clinic here for medical examination.
INS Nireekshak rescued two fishermen off Alappuzha coast and INS Sagardhwani fished out one cadaver, 30 km off Thiruvananthapuram coast. The ship had earlier found another cadaver.
The body has been handed over to the civil administration, he said. Indian Coast Guard ship Samar rescued a fishing boat with five crew members on board, the spokesman said.
He said that one of the crew in an advanced light helicopter (ALH) was wounded while assisting fishermen trapped in the sea off Kerala coast. The crew member, V K Verma, suffered hand injury caused by the winch wire.
He, however, continued "heroically" to help the fishermen to be rescued, before himself being winched up, the spokesman said. Verma has been admitted to a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.
The 'very severe' cyclonic storm Ockhi — which in Bengali means 'eye' — was likely to continue to move west- northwestwards across Lakshadweep islands over the next 24 hours and then recurve north-eastwards during the subsequent 48 hours, a Met department bulletin said.
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