Kerala cyclone toll 36, 96 missing



Three more bodies were recovered in Kerala on Thursday, taking the death toll in cyclone Ockhi to 36 while 96 fishermen are still missing, official figures said.

Two bodies was recovered off Kozhikode by a joint search team and another one was found in the deep sea off Alappuzha.

Also, 15 fishermen were rescued by an Indian Air Force aircraft off the Kozhikode coast while 209 others are in various hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Congress-led opposition is bracing to take on the state government for what it says has been a callous attitude in handling the November 30 cyclone and its aftermath.

The Congress will make its views known at Friday's all-party meeting called by the government.

Addressing reporters here, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said the government had made an "absolute mess" right from ignoring the series of cyclone warnings to executing a bad relief and rescue operation.

"It's really strange that an all-party meeting has been called tomorrow while the compensation measures have already been announced at yesterday's (Wednesday) cabinet meeting.

"Then what's the use of calling an all-party meeting? We are, however, taking part in it," he said. "The compensation package is too low. We want it to be increased."

Vijayan had on Wednesday announced a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the kin of those who died and Rs 5 lakh to the permanently disabled.

On Thursday, DNA tests began on 10 bodies kept at the state-run Medical College here. One body was handed over to relatives on Wednesday after the DNA test. - IANS