Kerala govt issues fresh cyclone alert as depression likely to intensify

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Attending a top-level meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan ordered to get back all the fishermen already out in the sea. "We have been informed that the depression has deepened and it is now 390 km south-southeast of Thiruvananthapuram coast", read CM's Facebook post. Coast Guard ships are on standby while the government has set up two control rooms in Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram. Forecast indicates rain or thundershower at many places on Tuesday and isolated heavy showers are expected over south Kerala on March 14 and across Kerala on March 15.

The meeting, chaired by Chief Secretary Paul Antony, directed District Collectors to arrange relief camps for relocation of families from vulnerable areas of the coast.

Warning that waves would be around 3 mts high and wind speeds would be anywhere from 40-60 kmph in the next 48 hours, the Indian Meterological Department said that it is not safe for fishermen to be out in the seas.

According to IMD, the depression was likely to move north-northwestwards and intensify into a deep depression during next 48 hrs.

The Kerala government sounded an alert along its coast in view of a well marked low pressure over the Indian Ocean, asking officials to ensure return of fishermen engaged in deep-sea fishing.

For a state that suffered extensive damage, especially to its southern coast, and heavy loss of lives when Cyclone Ockhi wreaked havoc late past year, a repetition of the same fear and panic is likely to be experienced among the coastal communities again.

With the sea likely to be very rough from Comorin to Maldives and over Lakshadweep and adjoining southeast Arabian sea, fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea along and off the Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep coasts in the next three days, starting on Tuesday. The BJP had also charged the LDF government with failing to protect its fishermen "despite early warning" about the cyclone.