Cyclone Ockhi

A dog shakes off rainwater as anchored fishing boats bob in the rough sea off a popular beachfront promenade in Mumbai Dec. 5, 2017. Cyclone Ockhi brought heavy rain to Mumbai as it moved up the Indian west coast, after hitting southern India and Sri Lanka, killing at least 39 people and cutting power to millions. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — A total of 39 people from Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been killed and 167 are still missing after Cyclone Ockhi hit both states Dec. 30, a Home Ministry official said Dec. 5.

Of the dead, 10 hailed from Tamil Nadu and 29 from Kerala where 2,802 and 33,000 people were affected by cyclone respectively, he said. 

According to the official, five people from Tamil Nadu and 56 from Kerala suffered injuries after the cyclone, which developed Nov. 30, a day after the India Meteorological Department issued a warning. 

A total of 220 fishermen in Tamil Nadu, 390 in Kerala and 27 in Lakshadweep have been rescued, along with 18 who were stuck on two merchant craft boats, he said, adding "only those are missing till now who left into deep sea well before Nov. 29." 

"The cyclone affected four districts in Tamil Nadu and eight in Kerala. There is lot of damage in Lakshadweep but no loss of human lives is reported." 

The official said 74 people from Tamil Nadu and over 93 from Kerala are still missing and that the state government is in the process of identifying them in villages. 

A total of 33 Indian and foreign tourists visiting Lakshadweep at time the cyclone hit the island are safe, he said. "The tourists along with 250 people landed on the Lakshadweep coast and 809 landed on Maharashtra coast are being provided shelter and basic facilities." 

The official said the armed forces are participating in the operation. The equipment being used in the rescue efforts include 10 ships and five aircraft from the Navy; 13 ships, four Dornier aircraft and one Chetak helicopter from the Indian Coast Guard; and one advanced light helicopter, two MI-17 choppers and an AN-32 aircraft from the Air Force.

"This is a totally coordinated rescue operation. Cabinet secretary review everyday about the situation apart from joint secretary level officers taking cognizance of the situation every three hours," the official said. 

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