Cyclone Ockhi, the first tropical storm of the season, has wreaked havoc across parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep and is now heading north towards Maharashtra and Gujarat. The deadly cyclone has left a long trail of destruction behind it. As per a statement by Home Ministry, on Wednesday, the cyclone has claimed as many as 39 lives and 167 fishermen are still missing. “As of now, 10 people lost their lives in Tamil Nadu and 29 others in Kerala. Even though the exact number of missing persons were not known, as per available information, the whereabouts of as many as 74 fishermen in Tamil Nadu and 93 fishermen in Kerala is not known yet,” Joint Secretary in the ministry Sanjeev Kumar Jindal told reporters.
Coming to the region-wise economic losses due to the storm, the Goa government pegged the total damage caused by Cyclone Ockhi at this stage between Rs 20 and Rs 30 lakh with Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte saying that at least 12 beaches were believed to be directly affected by the rising water levels as the cyclone passed through on its way to Maharashtra. The North Goa district in its preliminary assessment of the damage caused due to Cyclone Ockhi in the coastal state found that there was considerable damage caused to around 50 shacks in Morjim, Mandrem, Arambol and Querim beaches in Pernem taluka. Around 80 per cent of the shacks in the state have been affected due to the natural disaster. All this at a time when the region witnesses a peak-tourist season. Thereby, aggravating the losses and robbing livelihood of those who depend on tourist earning for their daily wages.
Lakshadweep MP Mohammad Faizal, on Sunday, said, the island has suffered a loss of over Rs 500 crore. Around 500 houses suffered damage, several coconut trees got uprooted and electric and communication lines were disrupted due to the calamity in Minicoy island alone. Faizal said that several crores of rupees will have to be spent for rebuilding the houses and paying compensation to farmers who have suffered huge losses as rains accompanied by strong winds lashed the Lakshadweep islands under the influence of Cyclone Ockhi. “An estimated Rs 200 crore loss has been reported following the collapse of the ‘breakwater’– a barrier built out into the sea to protect a coast from the force of waves — at Kalpeni,” PTI quoted him as saying.
As per the reports by regional media houses, Kerala has officially suffered Rs 7.5 crore worth damage owing to the rains so far. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 10 lakh for the kins of those who died in rain-related incidents. As the cyclone has already made a landfall in Maharashtra and Gujarat, further economic losses are inevitable. Further, as per IMD forecasts after hitting the two Western coast states, the cyclone will reach Andhra Pradesh and Odisha due to a depression in the Bay of Bengal.
The damage caused by Cyclone Ockhi has been so severe that many families have been forced to seek refuge in makeshift camps. Important roads leading to the affected areas and the relief camps have also been damaged. This makes it difficult to transport basic essentials like food and clean water to people living in relief camps.