Cyclone Ockhi continues to batter coastal Kerala, more than 2600 evacuated from Ernakulam district

 Neha rai

A raging sea, in the wake of cyclone Ockhi continued to batter the coastal areas of Ernakulam district on Saturday. Around 2,648 people from 718 families were evacuated to seven shelters spread over five villages in Kochi taluk as on Saturday afternoon.

The first casualty in connection with the natural calamity  was also reported from the district as 42-year-old Rexon was found dead near his inundated home at Maruvakkad in West Kochi’s Chellanam area on Saturday morning. After being moved to a shelter the previous evening, he had returned home in the morning to take stock of the situation. It is suspected that he had collapsed and died unnoticed since all families in the neighbourhood were in shelters.

Hundreds of families at Chellanam had to be evacuated overnight to safe shelters after unprecedented sea incursion flooded their homes and then breached the road nearby. There was no respite for the residents of Chellanam as an already rough sea turned worse during the time of high tide late on Friday evening.

Big waves started lashing the shore around 8 p.m. and it continued till around 11 p.m. The sea turned relatively calm thereafter but again turned rough around 2 a.m. People belonging to older generation said that they had not seen anything similar during their lifetime,” said Milton Antony, a local resident.

The stretch between Maruvakkad Velankanni Church and Bazaar areas where the seawall had not been built was the worst-affected. “The receding waves have deposited black mud along the shoreline clearing, which would need extensive cleaning,” said A.X. Antony Sheelan, a former block panchayat president from the area.

He said with the increase in the depth of the harbour, areas up to 22 kilometres to its south had become susceptible to vagaries of sea rage as was seen in Chellanam and nearby areas now.

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