Centre releases Rs 133 crore as Cyclone Ockhi relief for Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram: The central team that is touring Cyclone Ockhi-hit villages in Kerala to assess the damages on Wednesday sanctioned the first instalment of Rs 133 crore to the state government.

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

The team, consisting of disaster management experts, led by Vipin Mallik, a top official in the Home Department, has split themselves into two separate teams, with one team touring the districts of Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram and Kozhikode, while Mallik is going around the coastal hamlets in the state capital.

“We have today sanctioned Rs 133 crore, which is part of the Rs 422 crore that the state government had sought first,” Mallik told the media here.

With the body of one more fisherman being recovered off the coast of Kozhikode on Wednesday, the total number of dead has touched 75, while according to the Latin Church authorities, the number of missing is more than 250.

Earlier in the day, a delegation led by state Congress president M.M. Hassan met Mallik and briefed him about the situation and on the urgent need for the release of funds. The Congress also pinned blame on the Pinarayi Vijayan state government for “failing to rise to the occasion” when the tragedy struck.

The central team will be in the state till Friday .

Vijayan has sought a Rs 7,340 crore relief package to mitigate the fisher folks’ sufferings. It includes compensation for the dead, assistance to the permanently disabled and those who suffered injuries and also for construction of homes, educational assistance, writing off loans and for other programmes meant for the overall relief for the fisher folks in the state.

Popular actress Manju Warrier on Wednesday visited the grieving families at Poonthura fishing village, where many fishermen died and several continue to be missing.

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