December 2, 2017
Image credit : Illustrative Image
Hundreds of fishermen from Kanyakumari are feared to have been either missed or stranded in Lakshadweep due to cyclone Ockhi that ravaged the district as well in the last two days.
Relatives of the fishermen, who had ventured into the seas, are waiting with bated breath for their safe return home. On Saturday, about 500 of them, mostly women, resorted to a road blockade at Chinnathurai in the district, demanding that the state government expedite rescue measures on the lines of the Kerala government. They said the status of hundreds of fishermen, who had gone for deep sea fishing from their place and neighbouring villages in large vessels, is not known. The women have become panicky since they have not heard from the fishermen as communication remains cut off.
Local sources said the Coast Guard, Navy and Coastal Security Group have been undertaking search operations.
Ockhi has already claimed 8 lives in the district. The crops have got submerged in the rainwater and the gusty winds have left scores of trees and electric poles uprooted because of which traffic has come to a standstill and the district has plunged into darkness.
“I have never been witness to such heavy velocity of winds blowing in the town. These winds accompanied by rains have thrown life out of gear,” says a 55-year-old woman, a native of Nagercoil.
Her family has been living in darkness since Thursday when Ockhi started showing its gory face. The low pressure that formed over southeast Bay of Bengal moved towards Kanyakumari coast as Ockhi on Wednesday night. “We were able to sense the havoc that the cyclone was to wreak on our district on Wednesday night itself because of the change in the climatic conditions,” the woman, who did not want to be named, told The Covai Post.
While her family is struggling to live without electricity and with little water for the last two days, her relatives in Thittuvalai village are managing without power as they have been adaptive to the life in village where electricity is a luxury and water is drawn from wells.
Meanwhile, in the neighbouring Tirunelveli district, a portion of Thalavaipuram over bridge near Thirukarungudi caved in on Friday, following flash floods in Nambiyaaru. The bridge that connects a chunk of villages with Valliyoor town was inaugurated only a year ago, the locals said, adding that the collapse speaks for its inferior quality.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has announced Rs 25 crore relief funds for the Ockhi-hit districts. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday, called up the CM and enquired about the flood situation to which, the latter, according to government press release, replied that 7 districts of which Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli have been badly affected by Ockhi and rescue works were in full force