As many as 531 fishermen, stranded in Kerala and Lakshadweep coasts, have been rescued, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Special Correspondent

Efforts were on to rescue fishermen who had ventured into the sea in 12 fishing boats from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.Family members of around 1,000 fishermen from Kanyakumari district demanded that aerial searches and rescue operations be launched to trace the missing men.

The ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm Ockhi, which in Bengali means ‘eye’ over Lakshadweep is likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours. It is likely to continue to move west-northwestwards across Lakshadweep islands during the next 24 hours and then recurve north eastwards during the 48 hours, the Met department said.

Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal said the cyclone has left massive destruction in the island. “Friday night and early hours of Saturday, the island witnessed a strong wind with the speed of 135 kmph. After leaving enough destruction in Minicoy and Kalpeni it moved to Kavarthi, the capital. Though many houses and buildings were damaged, there is no human casualty so far,” said the MP.Minicoy island in Lakshadweep, received 14cm of rains Satuday morning, Met department sources said.

Ockhi is expected to travel north towards Mumbai and Gujarat in the next 48 hours, according to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) director S Sudevan in Trivandrum.

PM Modi dialled Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami late Friday night and inquired about the damage caused by Cyclone Ockhi, which also battered parts of Kerala. The PM has assured “immediate assistance” to the CM.

Heavy rain lashed at Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu due to which the traffic came to a halt on the Karupanthurai-Melapalyam link road as the low-lying bridge was submerged in the Thamirabarani River.

Coast Guard Ship C-427 has rescued two fishing boats off Vizhinjam, which were reported missing due to the cyclone.

Four hundred fishermen from Kerala and 300 from Tamil Nadu rescued. Two more deaths reported in Kerala, and the death toll reached 16.