Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who visited the affected population at Vizhinjam in the aftermath of Cyclone Ockhi, was at the receving end of the ire of the locals who stopped his car for over three minutes forcing the police to intervene. The protesters were reportedly banging on the chief minister's car.
Revenue minister E Chandrasekharan, who is also in charge of disaster management in the state, was also accompanying him.
Cyclone Ockhi has so far claimed 24 lives in Kerala with the rescue forces fishing out 8 more dead bodies on Sunday.
The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard together rescued 69 fishermen on Sunday. 16 people were brought to Kollam and another 4 to Shankhumugham by the Indian Navy. Coast Guard rescued 16 people and brought them to safety in Kochi.
Another 36 people, 6 of them Keralites, who had left the Kochi harbor on November 28, reached Kannur safely.
The Indian Navy sources said 13 fishermen were rescued from the high seas by INS Kalpeni Sunday morning and handed over to the authorities in Kollam.
An Air Force chopper rescued four fishermen about 30 miles west of Kayamkulam and brought them to a medical college hospital here.
Four aircraft of the Air Force, three of the Navy, and 10 naval ships have been undertaking search operations since morning. Coast Guard ships were also engaged for rescue efforts.
On Saturday, two ships of the Coast Guard saved 10 people, according to an official statement.
A Chetak helicopter of the Coast Guard form Kochi rescued a survivor from the sea. Another ship has located a fishing boat stranded in the sea with nine people on board. It was being towed to safety, the statement said.
About 20 boats with 203 people aboard have taken shelter near various islands in Lakshadweep, the statement added.
Meanwhile, protests were mounting along the Kerala coast, with fishermen and their families blaming the state government for the "tardy" manner in which the rescue operations were being conducted.
Residents have launched protests in coastal areas, including Alappuzha and Chellanam, over the delay in rescuing fishermen stranded in the sea.
No information has been received about the 33 fishermen from Punthura who had ventured into the sea five days ago.
Fishing boats- 40 from Poonthura and 15 from Vizhinjam, left with food and water looking for their missing kith and kin, to launch their own rescue in the high seas early on Sunday. Shortly after they ventured into the sea, rescuers found a body and brought it to the shore.
Meanwhile, Cyclone Ockhi has moved north-northwestwards during the past six hours and lay centered over southeast and east-central Arabian Sea, about 390km west-northwest of Amini Divi island of Lakshadweep, according to the latest MeT department bulletin.
Heavy rainfall is expected at isolated places in north Lakshadweep during the next 12 hours.
(With inputs from PTI)