Thiruvananthapuram: Cyclone ‘Ockhi’ swept across Kerala coast leaving a trail of destruction on November 30. Fisherfolk – the most affected section – have blamed State authorities for failing to issue warnings not to venture into the sea. However, it has now been revealed that timely alerts on the impending natural disaster were indeed issued by Hyderabad-based INCOIS (Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services) to Kerala.
“High waves in the range of 2.5 – 3.1 meters are forecast during 08.30 hours on 29-11-2017 to 23.30 hours of 30-11-2017 along the coast of Kerala from Vizhinjam to Kasargod. Fishermen are advised to be cautious while venturing into the sea,” said the initial ‘Priority 1’ Alert issued by INCOIS. Repeated warnings were communicated by the agency to Kerala’s Disaster Management Authority from November 27.
After the low-pressure alert on November 27, INCOIS, early next day, informed the State authorities of the possibility of high waves. The information was repeated in the evening.
“A clear warning regarding high waves was communicated to Kerala’s disaster management authority. It was also advised not to allow fishermen to venture into the sea,” a senior INCOIS scientist told Manorama Online.
Waves over 3 meters present a dangerous condition for fishing. Authorities in Tamil Nadu heeded to INCOIS’s warning, the scientist added.
INCOIS had, on October 24 this year, signed an agreement with Kerala’s Fisheries Department to issue alerts to fishermen. The messages are communicated in several languages, including Malayalam , through ‘Sagar Vani’ integrated information dissemination system.
With a mere 480 fishermen in Kerala registered, INCOIS is keen on bringing more fishermen in the State into the safety net, said the scientist.
According to figures with the Fisheries Department, there are around 10 lakh fishermen in Kerala, of whom 7.71 lakh live in the coastal area. Approximately 1.87 lakh people actively pursue fishing activities.
Read: Latest Kerala News