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Storm warning: Kerala on high alert after depression in Arabian Sea deepens

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 13-03-2018

Three months after Cyclone Ockhi ravaged the Kerala coast and caught the administration on the wrong foot, the government has sounded an alert as a depression in the Arabian Sea for last two days deepened further on Tuesday.

The Met office has warned fishermen not to venture into the sea for next two days as the depression situated 390 kms south-west of Thiruvananthapuram intensified further.

Kerala’s chief secretary Paul Antony met different departmental heads Tuesday morning to review preparations. Coast Guard ships are on standby while the government has set up two control rooms in Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram.

“We are in constant touch with the weather and disaster management offices. We have been informed that the depression is intensifying and situated 390 kms away from the Thiruvananthapuram coast now,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

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He asked all fishermen who ventured into the sea before the warning came into force to return immediately. Government officials said they were coordinating with Navy and Coast Guard to meet any eventuality.

The Met office has predicted heavy rainfall in next two to three days. Thiruvananthapuram metrological centre director S Sudevan said heavy rains will be accompanied by winds with speeds of 40 to 60 kmph in south Kerala. He said the warning for fishermen will be in force till Thursday.

After cyclone Ockhi ravaged the southern coast, fishermen claimed that they were not given any warning by the state fisheries department. However the National Disaster Management Authority had claimed that it had informed the Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments about the incoming cyclonic storms and heavy rains. Cyclone Ockhi also raised questions about the government’s preparedness to deal with major natural calamities. The cyclone claimed 80 lives in Kerala and 28 in Tamil Nadu. In Kerala 40 fishermen are still missing.

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