Thiruvananthapuram: The death toll due to Ockhi cyclone, which hit the Kerala coast, rose to 52 today as more bodies were recovered and the search for the missing fishermen in the high seas continued.
Officials at the state control room monitoring the search operations said six bodies were found off Kozhikode today. Two bodies were found off Kochi late last night. Of the total bodies recovered, 24 were found off the coast of Thiruvananthapuram and 10 off Kochi. Seven bodies were found off Kollam, six off Kozhikode, Malappuram two and one each from Thrissur, Kannur and Kasaragod, they said.
Search operations would continue as 95 fishermen were still missing, official sources said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today urged people to donate towards the Ockhi Cyclone Relief Fund set up by the state governmnet for rehabilitation of the affected families. Vijayan said employees of the state and central governments, private institutions and people in social and cultural fields should contribute generously to the fund. He also said the help of individuals, institutions and organisations was necessary as a huge amount was needed for taking up rehabilitation projects.
State Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty visited the Pozhiyur coastal area of the district to take stock of the situation.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of the Latin Catholic church Soosa Pakiam met governor P Sathasivam and raised various demands, including an intensive search for missing fishermen. Yesterday, hundreds of fishermen under the aegis of the Latin Catholic Church had taken out a march to the Raj Bhavan in support of their demands for a hike in the compensation amount.
The state government has announced a relief package for the affected victims, which, among other things, included Rs 20 lakh each to the families of those who died in the cyclone that ravaged the coast on November 29-30. The state government has also demanded a financial assistance of Rs 1,834 crore from the Centre in view of the loss suffered due to the cyclone.