Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday met the Kerala fishermen families affected by cyclone Ockhi at Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram.

The minister assured them that the search and rescue operations are being conducted with full force. "The search and rescue operations by the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force will continue with full vigour," Sitharaman said.

Sitharaman also reached Kanyakumari on Sunday to take stock of the situation in the wake of the cyclonic storm, which has tormented the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and Lakshadweep islands.

The minister informed that 357 fishermen, including 71 from Tamil Nadu, who had been stranded in the sea due to Cyclone Ockhi, have been rescued so far. Earlier, on November 2, the Tamil Nadu authorities had stated that the total number of deaths caused due to the cyclone has reached 19.

The state department also said that at least 690 people have been rescued so far, while 96 were still missing. It further stated that 63 people have been hospitalised, while 74 houses have been fully damaged and 1,122 houses have been partially damaged.

The deadly cyclone, which has claimed many lives, lashed the coastal areas of Kerala and Tamil Nadu on Saturday with torrential rainfall and gusty winds.