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New Delhi: Ten ships continue to be deployed for search and rescue operations in the aftermath of Cyclone Ockhi, the Indian Navy said on Tuesday.

So far, Indian Naval Ships have so far saved 148 lives since the search and rescue operations started, and provided lifesaving material assistance to 174 fishermen at sea, it said.

Even as the cyclone rapidly weakened and moved farther away from the Kavaratti island of Lakshadweep and Minicoy, the Southern Naval Command (SNC) continued search and rescue operations for the sixth day on Tuesday, a statement said.

Ten naval ships, including frontline ships from Western Naval Command including INS Chennai, Kolkata and Trikand as well as four types of aircraft, including long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I, Dornier, and SeaKing and Chetak helicopters continue to be deployed over an extended search and rescue area of 250 nautical miles west of the Lakshwadeep islands and 400 nautical miles off Kerala coast.

Based on request received from local administration of Lakshadweep islands, Disaster Relief material was disembarked at Minicoy by INS Shardul, at Kavaratti by INS Chennai, at Kalpeni by INS Sharda and at Bitra by INS Trikand with assistance also provided by naval SeaKing helicopters. In addition, technical and diving teams of INS Shardul disembarked at Minicoy island to render assistance in salvage, repair and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.

A technical team, capable of undertaking electrical and mechanical repairs deployed at Bitra Island by INS Trikand has already repaired and reconstructed four badly damaged fishing vessels and made them seaworthy.

INS Kabra, presently involved in search and rescue operations off Kollam, will embark local fishermen on December 6 at Kollam Port for carrying out guided search operations, based on specific inputs provided by these fishermen. Similarly, INS Kalpeni will also embark local fishermen from Kochi in an effort to further boost the ongoing rescue efforts. Both ships will embark fishermen in the morning and disembark them in the evening on completion of the guided search.

In addition, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief material has been provided to all Lakshwadeep islands and all efforts are bring back normalcy to them "most expeditiously".

"Relentless efforts are on by all other ships at the disposal of Indian Navy to provide relief and support to the last person needing it, either at sea or at the Lakshadweep islands," Indian Navy said in its statement.

According to the Home Ministry, a total of 39 people from Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been killed and 167 are still missing after Cyclone Ockhi hit both the states on December 30.

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