Cyclone Ockhi alert came late: Kerala CM Pinarayi

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Cyclone Ockhi had battered the southern districts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu on Thursday with heavy rains and destructive winds.

Meanwhile, at least 1,044 persons in Kanniyakumari have been lodged in 16 relief camps while the number was 205 in two camps in Tirunelveli.

An Indian Coast Guard vessel, top, rescues fishermen in a fishing boat, bottom, that was stranded in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. But a low pressure formed near Lakshadweep intensified into a cyclonic storm Thursday afternoon, springing a surprise to both authorities and people. Dozens of fishermen were rescued Friday from the sea which is very rough under the influence of Cyclone Ockhi.

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"The chief minister requested (Singh) that the Coast Guard and Navy should continue assisting the state government in swiftly rescuing the fishermen who have not returned so far, and that helicopters of Coast Guard and Navy should be deployed for this objective", the release said.

Chennai: Heavy rains continued to batter coastal areas of Kerala and south Tamil Nadu, crippling normal life, even as Cyclone Ockhi lay centered about 80km north-northeast of Minicoy in Lakshadweep. The India Meteorological Department (IMD), is predicting that it is likely to move towards the Lakshadweep Islands and intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours.

"The fishermen are not ready to forsake their boats and return to the coast via rescue ships", he said.

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