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Pope Francis enquires about the sufferings of Kerala’s fishermen community caused by Cyclone Ockhi

 Pope Francis has enquired about the hardships and sufferings caused to  fishermen community in the Ockhi cyclone that ravaged the coastal belt on November 30, the Archbishop of the Latin Catholic Church said .

Archbishop Soosai Pakiam said he received a phone call last Saturday from the Vatican stating that the Pope wanted to know the details of the cyclone that hit the state’s coast and a brief to broadcast it through the Vatican radio.

“They also recorded a five minute long message through telephone,” the Archbishop said at a march of fishermen, organised by the Latin Catholic Church here.

It was under these circumstances, Pope Francis on Sunday remembered and prayed for the victims of the cyclone, he said.

During his speech, the Archbishop said it was a grave negligence on the part of authorities, whoever they may be, not to take seriously information passed by central agencies on the impending cyclone and issue proper warning about it.

 I strongly condemn this apathy towards the fishermen community,” the Archbishop said. “Knowingly or unknowingly lapse had occurred. Loss of life and damage could have been less if timely action had been taken,” he added.

The Archbishop wanted the state government to review the relief package announced by it, taking the views of the Church also. The Centre and state governments should come out with a long-term comprehensive development scheme for the coastal people, he said.

The fishermen are demanding a coordinated search operation to trace missing fishermen and a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Ockhi-hit areas.

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