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India cyclone toll rises to 24, fishermen still missing

11:20, Monday, 04 December, 2017
India cyclone toll rises to 24, fishermen still missing

The death toll from Cyclone Ockhi, which battered south-west India, rose to 24 on Sunday as search operations intensified for scores of missing fishermen with the storm moving away from the region.
     The cyclone brought high-speed winds and heavy rains to the Tamil Nadu and Kerala states on the mainland before moving towards the Lakshadweep archipelago off the south-west coast of India.
     On Sunday, Ockhi, with wind speeds upto 150 kilometres per hour, was moving over the south-east Arabian Sea and was expected to weaken over the next two days, India's Metereological Department said.
     Sixteen people were killed in Kerala and eight more were killed in Tamil Nadu as Ockhi destroyed hundreds of homes, uprooted trees and snapped power lines.
     A total of 15 deaths were confirmed on Saturday, and nine more bodies were recovered with weather clearing in the region, disaster management officials said.
     There were no casualties in Lakshadweep though Ockhi damaged homes as well as the main desalination plant in state capital Kavaratti.
     More than 180 fishermen - 97 from Tamil Nadu and 88 from Kerala - were still missing.
     "Fifteen ships, five surveillance aircraft and five choppers are searching coastal areas to locate the men," Tamil Nadu disaster management chief Rajendra Ratnoo said.
     While 500 were rescued by disaster response teams, many of them managed to get to safety and were being found along coasts, Kerala official PH Kurian said.

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