Surat: The Surat authorities urged people to not go out at night as Cyclone Ockhi closed in on the Gujarat coast and is expected to made landfall at midnight.

“It’s likely to rain today. There will be strong winds. People have been advised not go out at night. Those living in kachcha houses will be given shelter. The NDRF (National Disaster Relief Force) is on alert. Municipality and local bodies are working on their level,” said Surat district magistrate Mahendra Patel.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed on Twitter to the people of Gujarat to help others across the state.

“Continuously monitoring the situation arising in various parts of the country due to #CycloneOckhi. Spoke to all relevant authorities and officials. All possible assistance is being provided to those affected,” Modi wrote.

In a second tweet, he wrote: “With #CycloneOckhi expected to make a landfall in Gujarat, I appeal to @BJP4Gujarat Karyakartas to focus on helping people across the state. Our Karyakartas should devote themselves to providing all possible assistance and stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens.”

The cyclone has claimed at least 20 lives while hundreds are still missing since it made landfall in Kerala on 30 November.

The Maharashtra government declared a holiday for schools and colleges in Mumbai and the surrounding areas as a precautionary measure.

Search and rescue operations continued in the south-east Arabian Sea and the Lakshadweep islands. The navy has deployed 10 ships and eight aircraft for the round-the-clock rescue services. (ANI)