Pope Francis enquires about victims of Cyclone Ockhi

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The state said the cost involved in the massive rescue and search operations carried out by various agencies should be borne by the centre.

Chennai: Opposition DMK will stage a protest here on Tuesday urging the Centre and state government to expedite rescue of missing Kanyakumari fishermen post Cyclone Ockhi, party working president MK Stalin said on Monday.

Meanwhile, a total of 250 fishermen, trapped in the high seas following the November 30 cyclone, returned to Kochi. However Tamil Nadu government says that the toll is not more than 150. The rescued fishermen include 41 persons from Kerala, 189 from Tamil Nadu, 14 from Assam, five from Odisha, and one from Andhra Pradesh.

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Mourning the dead, the Christian community in the coastal belt had on Sunday observed a "prayer day" and sought central funds for rehabilitation of the affected families.

Scores of them who had ventured into the sea for fishing prior to the cyclone are yet to return, according to their families and relatives. In places like Nagapattinam and Tiruvallur, fishermen took out marches to express solidarity with their Kanyakumari counterparts. However, no stranded boats, fishermen or floating bodies have been found in this duration.

The Navy said more than four lakh square nautical miles had been searched by Indian naval assets so far over the southeast Arabian Sea and Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands.

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Nine ships and all available aircraft have continued the search operations. "Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P8I searched over entire Maldives", a Defence release said in Kochi tonight.

The Archbishop wanted the state government to review the relief package announced by it, taking the views of the Church also. Kerala and Tamil Nadu have demanded the Centre to declare the tragedy a national disaster.

The fishermen are demanding a coordinated search operation to trace missing fishermen and a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Ockhi-hit areas.

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