As many as 619 fishermen – 433 from Tamil Nadu and 186 from Kerala – are still missing after Cyclone Ockhi stormed through the states a fortnight ago, an unidentified Home Affairs Ministry official was quoted as saying by PTI on Thursday. The official said neither state government had given a final figure on the number of people yet to be traced.

Authorities are moving from house to house to verify the final number, the official said. They are most worried about the fate of those fishermen who went out into the sea in small boats before Ockhi struck.

The toll in the disaster now stands at 77 – 63 people were killed in Kerala and 14 in Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, Congress President-designate Rahul Gandhi on Thursday met families of the victims of Cyclone Ockhi in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu, The Indian Express reported.

In Vizhinjam in Kerala, Gandhi sympathised with “all those who lost their family members” in the storm. “I think it is time fishermen have their ministry at the central level so that their difficulties can be dealt with quickly and immediately,” he added.

On Wednesday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had promised quick financial aid to the families of fishermen killed and injured after Cyclone Ockhi and assured them that operations to search for the missing fishermen would continue.