Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday assured the fisherfolk from the coastal villages near Thiruvananthapuram who lost their kin when Cyclone Ockhi struck on November 30 that the entire country and the government is with them in the hour of grief.
"This is not the time for a lecture and I assure you that we will do everything to help you and that's why I myself have come. We are all with you and will do everything. With Christmas round the corner, we wish all the missing return back," he said in his brief remarks on the occasion.
Modi arrived at the Poonthura Community hall to interact directly with the families of the fisherfolk whose near and dear ones either died or continue to remain missing, giving them a patient hearing as Union Tourism and IT Minister KJ Alphons translated what they were saying.
It was after that the Prime Minister went on to the stage and spoke briefly.
"The cyclone hit Lakshadweep, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and many of the fishermen are yet to return. We have taken quick action by first sending Defence Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman). The whole country is with you in your grief," he said to claps from the grief-stricken families.
Modi flew in to Thiruvananthapuram from Lakshwadeep where the cyclone had damaged property, and was received by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The Prime Minister then went by a helicopter to Kanyakumari in neighbouring Tamil Nadu before returning to Thiruvananthapuram in the evening, and going to Poonthura.
Hundreds of fishermen have lost their lives and several are yet to return.
Modi will now meet Vijayan and his team and also hear a delegation of the Latin Church diocese led by Archbishop M Susaipakiam, before returning to Delhi.
More than 70 fishermen from the Kerala's southern districts of Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam died in Ockhi while more than 250 remain missing.