Rescue operations to continue till all fishermen brought back: Minister

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said that search and rescue operations in high seas would not be stopped or diluted till all fishermen, who are missing since Cyclone ‘Ockhi’ hit Kerala shores, were brought back safe.

Naval ships, helicopters, Coast Guard vessels and Air Force planes are engaged in the rescue and relief operations to track down the 100 odd missing fishermen.

Talking to reporters, Nirmala said: “Search and rescue operations will continue…There will not be any dilution of operations.”

“We want to make sure that each and every fishermen who had gone from Kerala comes back safe,” the Minister, who had earlier visited Vizhinjam and Poonthura fishing hamlets, from where most of the fishermen have been reported missing, said.

Through proper channel, Kerala can send its recommendations with regard to hike in compensation to families of fishermen who had lost their kin and equipment, she said.

“They (fishing community) are in deep distress.. I can see it,” she said.

Nirmala said fishermen who had gone much before the cyclone warning, probably 15 days ago, had been spotted in the sea and were given food and water.

“So I will not lose hope even for a minute.. If boats that had gone 15 days ago had come back with fishermen alive, we will make every attempt to bring everybody back,” she said.

(Agencies)

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