Cyclone ‘Ockhi’ cannot be declared national calamity: Alphons

The Centre said that Cyclone ‘Ockhi’, which wrecked havoc in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep, cannot be declared a national calamity as there is no such scheme, but assured all necessary assistance to tackle the situation.

Speaking to reporters, Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam said the Centre has already given necessary relief funds to the state government.

“We have received a memorandum from the state government requesting to declare Cyclone Ockhi as a national calamity. But, there is no such scheme for the Centre to do the same,” he said.

Though the Union Tourism Minister earlier backed the Kerala government’s contention that they had not received any prior warning about the cyclone, he later clarified that the central agencies had given necessary alerts on November 28 and 29 itself.

Alphons earlier had stated that the state had received the cyclone alert only on November 30 and a clear prior warning had not been issued before that.

The minister later visited nearby Poonthura, a coastal hamlet where fishermen are protesting alleging delay in rescue of their kin, who had ventured into sea days ago.

(Agencies)

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