More than 600 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Kerala continued to remain missing after Cyclone Ockhi rampaged through parts of south and western India a fortnight ago, a home ministry official said today. As many as 433 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and 186 from Kerala were yet to be traced, the official said. However, the official said, the two state governments were yet to give a final figure of the people missing since the cyclone made a landfall on December 2. House-to-house verification process was going on and a final figure of the missing fishermen would be known once the process was over, the official said.
Several fishermen had ventured into the sea in boats and “small crafts” before Ockhi approached the coastal region, authorities say. The anxiety is about the people who had gone in such small vessels. As of now, 63 people have lost their lives in Kerala and 14 in Tamil Nadu during the cyclone. Cyclone Ockhi, which in Bengali means ‘eye’, made the landfall in Lakshadweep on December 2 and caused extensive damages to houses, power lines and other infrastructure in the islands and coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
It dissipated near the south coast of Gujarat on December 6. Yesterday, the DMK urged Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit to take steps to declare the cyclone, which battered Kanyakumari, a “national calamity,” and sought expeditious search and rescue operations for the missing fishermen. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said the Centre has agreed to continue search operations for the missing fishermen as requested by the state government.