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India searches for dozens of missing fishermen after Cyclone Ockhi

India searches for dozens of missing fishermen after Cyclone Ockhi

The Gujarat government issued instructions to district magistrates, asking them to take adequate precautionary measures.

Apart from claiming at least 25 lives, trees and electricity poles were uprooted, roofs of houses and other structures were blown off and train and flight services were halted on Friday and Saturday as Ockhi with wind speeds between 155 and 165 km per hour struck the southern coastal state of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Lakshadweep archipelago in the Arabian Sea.

Relief material is also being provided to inmates in relief camps set up by the government agencies and state governments of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep administration, which were also taking prompt action in dealing with the situation, it said.

On her arrival in the worst-hit Kanyakumari district by helicopter from Thiruvanathapuram in Kerala, Sitharaman held discussions with deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, ministers and officials.

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The hospital authorities on Monday started the process to get the DNA examination of the bodies done, as most of these are now hard to be identified with naked eyes. Vijayan has appealed to the central government to declare cyclone Ockhi as a "national calamity". The Indian navy rescued 20 of the missing fishermen, the Press Trust of India reported, but more are missing.

Surendran said that the joint rescue operations were going on "and as of now 85 more of the fishermen have to be traced and it has been made a decision to include the local fishing populace" in the effort. "They (fishing community) are in deep distress.I can see it", she said. "If boats that had gone 15 days ago had come back with fishermen alive, we will make every attempt to bring everybody back", Sitharaman said. "Now 11 of them are already in search helicopters, so with the cooperation of fishermen, we will continue our search and rescue teams", she said. "I appeal you to trust us and we will bring back those missing fisherman", she said.

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 CPM and the CPI, state BJP president Kummanam Rajasekheran said the state government failed miserably.