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Kerala seeks Rs 1,843 crore from Centre for Cyclone Ockhi damage as death toll rises to 58

Five more bodies were recovered on Wednesday, taking the death toll of Cyclone Ockhi to 52.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2017 13:57 IST
Agencies, Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala govt,Cyclone Ockhi,Pinarayi Vijayan
Heavy rains and winds hammered the southern coast of Tamil Nadu and Kerala as a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal turned into a cyclonic storm in November end, in Thiruvananthapuram.(Vivek Nair/HT File Photo)

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Wednesday the state government has sought Rs 1,843 crore from the Centre to mitigate the damage caused by Cyclone Ockhi.

“This was one of the worst disasters that struck the state. The Centre has been very supportive in all aspects,” Vijayan told the media soon after chairing the weekly cabinet meeting.

“In today’s meeting it was decided that we will seek Rs 1,843 crore from the Centre. Very soon a central team will be arriving in the state to assess the damage.”

Vijayan, however, did not give a clear picture on the exact number of casualties and those missing.

“Even now bodies are being recovered. There are two types of boats that the fishermen use -- one is the small boat and the other is the big one, which returns from fishing after several weeks.”

“Those still missing went out on the small boats. Many of the dead have already been identified, while some bodies remain unidentified. DNA tests are ongoing.”

“Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman had called me and we have agreed to continue the search operations,” Vijayan said.

Death toll goes up

The death toll in the disaster has climbed to 58 as more bodies were recovered from high seas.

On Wednesday, the Coast Guard and Marine Enforcement agencies conducting searches off the coast of Kozhikode and Kochi recovered five bodies.

According to official estimates, 94 people are still missing. The government has a figure of missing persons and if there were any more people other than in the list, that also would be confirmed, Vijayan said.

Vijayan has given a call to the people of the state to contribute generously to the special fund that the state government has constituted for the rehabilitation of the affected fisher folk.

The Kerala cabinet has decided to contribute one month’s salary towards the fund.

“It has been decided to give Rs 20 lakh each as compensation in one tranche to the near and dear ones of those who have died; Rs five lakh each to those who have been permanently disabled and Rs 20,000 each to all those who had undergone treatment.

“Of the Rs 20 lakh each that the families of the dead gets -- Rs five lakh should be given to the parents and Rs five lakh will be earmarked for unmarried sisters of the dead fishermen,” the chief minister said.

Counselling would be provided to all those affected. Besides, educational needs of the children of the affected families would also be taken care of, he added.

He also said the distribution of the aid would be under no circumstances delayed. “It will be given as quickly as possible.”

Cyclone Ockhi struck the southern districts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu on November 30.

First Published: Dec 13, 2017 13:38 IST