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Rain fury in Lakshadweep, Kerala
May 07, 2004 02:17 IST
Torrential rains continued to batter Lakshadweep islands and Kerala, causing extensive damage to property, even as two passenger ships bound for Lakshadweep were forced to anchor in the Arabian sea near Kalpeni after a 'severe cyclonic' storm formed, with a centre 50 km northeast of Amini island.
According to the weather bureau in Thiruvananthapuram, the area near the Amini island was battered by heavy winds with speeds of 40 to 50 km per hour. It was possible the cyclonic wind would hit the Kerala coast, they said.
Though no casualties have been reported so far, hundreds of houses were damaged in Lakshadweep and Kerala as heavy rain, triggered by the depression in the Arabian sea, continued for the third day Thursday.
In Lakshadweep, a large number of houses in the islands of Kiltan, Kadamat, Kavaratti, Chetlat and Bitra were destroyed. Amini island was cut off as communication lines were snapped, police and Lakshadweep administration sources said.
The two ships that left Kochi on May 3 -- M V Tippu Sultan and M V Dweepsethu -- are marooned off Kalpeni with hundreds of passengers on board. Passengers bound for Kalpeni disembarked at their destination but the ship could not proceed further to other islands because of the rough seas, sources said.
Thirteen fishermen from Munamambam near Kochi, who had gone fishing in three boats off Lakshadweep last Friday, have reached Kavarathy safely, administration sources said. A foreign yacht, the UK-registered John Player, sought the navy's help when it was caught in rough seas off the Thalassery coast in Kannur. The INS Jamuna, a survey ship, towed it into the Kannur fisheries harbour.
Several coastal hamlets in Kerala's Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kochi and Kollam districts bore the brunt of torrential rains, as the official machinery geared up for rescue and relief operations. The administration has asked the Navy to help if the situation demands it.
Fisheries Department sources in Kannur said that 22 fishermen, who ventured into sea in six boats in the past three days from Mahe, Thalassery and Kannur, were reported missing in the sea.
The Meterological office has forecast very heavy rains in Lakshadweep and heavy rains in Kerala in the next 48 hours.
Several areas in fort Kochi, Chellanam and Vypeen in Erankaulam district are waterlogged.
In Kochi's coastal belt, at least 1000 houses are water-logged, police sources said, and 50 houses have been damaged. Sea water has also seeped into areas, including Kannamally, Kandakadavu, Chalakadavu, Vypeen and Njarackkal. People in low-lying areas are being shifted to safer places. At least 60 persons have taken shelter in the St Mary's church at nearby Chellanam.
Heavy rains have been lashing Kochi since last night. With roads being waterlogged, movement of traffic was also affected.
Meanwhile, an Air India flight to Kozhikode was diverted to Kochi as it could not land there due to bad weather. It later left for Kozhikode. An Indian Airlines flight to Sharjah was delayed by over two hours because of the bad weather.
More reports from Kerala