Coastal areas of Gujarat state, including the port town of Surat, were on high alert yesterday as tropical cyclone Ockhi neared leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
The cyclone, which first developed along India’s south-eastern coast bringing strong winds and storm surges, has led to the deaths of 39 people, the federal Home Ministry said yesterday.
Hundreds of fishermen who went missing in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been rescued but the Navy and Coast Guard are still looking for 167 people.
Of the dead, 10 are from Tamil Nadu and 29 from Kerala where 2,802 and 33,000 people got affected, an official said.
Thirty-three tourists have been rescued from the Lakshwadeep islands over the past two days.
The archipelago bore the brunt of the cyclone on Monday.
Schools were closed in financial hub Mumbai and coastal areas of Maharashtra which saw heavy rains, NDTV news channel reported.
However, all incoming and outgoing flights at Mumbai Airport were operated on schedule and the city’s lifeline, the suburban local trains, continued to run unhindered.
In Gujarat, election meetings were called off including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rally scheduled in Surat today.
Gujarat Assembly elections are to be held on Saturday.
Cyclone Ockhi had weakened and was expected to weaken further and cross the Gujarat coast, according to an IMD forecast.
Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea off south Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts.
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