Published On: Sun, Dec 3rd, 2017

Cyclone Ockhi: 6 bodies recovered, 88 fishermen still missing

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala’s fishermen community on Sunday launched their own rescue operations with 55 boats venturing into the sea to search for those who have not returned, even six bodies were found, while a state Minister said around 85 fishermen were still missing in wake of Cyclone Ockhi.

We went up to 50 nautical miles and there we found more than a dozen damaged boats floating in the seas

Meanwhile, two Kerala Ministers faced the fishermen’s ire when they went to inspect a cyclone-affected area.

Three bodies was brought here, while three were found out off the coast of Kollam. While all the six were Kerala fishermen, their identity is yet to be ascertained.

With this, the total number of dead on account of the cyclone has gone up to 16 and more than 500 fishermen have been rescued so far.

Meanwhile, the fishermen’s boats – 40 from Poonthura and 15 from Vizhinjam – left for the high seas with food, water and communication equipment.

“We went up to 50 nautical miles and there we found more than a dozen damaged boats floating in the seas, but could not locate any one. We also spotted a rescue helicopter also doing their duty,” said a fisherman who had gone into the high seas on Sunday morning.

State Tourism Minister K Surendran and Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma, who were engaged in rescue and rehabilitation operations since November 30 and coordinating with the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, were booed by the local fisherfolks near here when they reached to find out the situation.

Earlier in the day, union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons held discussions with Vijayan on Cyclone Ockhi, which has caused widespread damage in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts, but categorically declared that this will not be termed a national disaster as Kerala has sought.

“There is no provision to declare this as a national calamity. What the Centre will do is to provide funds. That has already been done and if need be, more funds would be allocated,” said Alphons, a former bureaucrat who hails from the state and was also a former Left supported independent legislator (2006-11).

Meanwhile, the Congress-led opposition and the BJP slammed the Vijayan government for the “irresponsible manner” in which the tragedy was handled and while Ramesh Chennithala, the Leader of Opposition, said that the rescue and relief operations could not take place smoothly as there is an ongoing cold war between the CPI-M and the CPI, state BJP president Kummanem Rajasekheran said the state government failed miserably.

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