Families of missing fishermen pray for Christmas miracle

Clutching her four daughters, Selvi has been praying for a week at the St Thomas church in Poonthura for a miracle that would bring back her husband, one of the 29 fishermen missing in the high seas after Cyclone ‘Ockhi’ hit the coastal state of Kerala.

She is one of the many women who turn up at the church every morning to offer prayers and light candles, unwilling to give up hope that their loved ones would come home.

“Where will I go with my four children? My elder daughter is only seven-year-old and the other two are aged five and three,” Selvi said.

“I have no house of my own… My husbands earning from fishing was our only source of income,” she said.

A pall of gloom has descended on the area which otherwise should have been bustling with activities as Christmas is round the corner, Father Justin Jude, the vicar of the church said.

The church has put up a flex board carrying images of the missing men in front of it.

Twenty-nine boats with 90 fishermen had sailed to the sea from here on the wee hours of November 29. While 57 returned safely, four lost their lives and 29 are still missing, the vicar said.

Of the lucky ones to make it ashore safely, Suresh, a 40- year-old fisherman, said it was the “hand of god” which saved him from death.

“It is really a second life for me. The compass of my boat had started moving erratically as the boat was literally caught in the path of the cyclone,” Suresh told.


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