Bengaluru/Chennai: In a brief visit to Kerala and Tamil Nadu on Tuesday to review relief work in the aftermath of Cyclone Ockhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received requests for central assistance totalling Rs16,642 crore.

Modi said he will consider the requests sympathetically, the Kerala government said in a statement to the media.

Later in the day, the Union government in a statement said that Rs325 crore has been sanctioned on priority for relief work in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep. The central government will also support the states in reconstructing about 1,400 houses damaged due to the cyclone, with each beneficiary getting up to Rs1.5 lakh.

Modi met a delegation of fishermen at Poonthura, near Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram, and in Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. He assured them of help in finding missing fishermen by Christmas.

Kerala sought a central package of Rs7,340 crore, while Tamil Nadu requested Rs9,302 crore, mostly to rebuild fishermen’s houses destroyed by the cyclone on 30 November. Both states also wanted the centre to declare it a national disaster.

“I am deeply touched by the courage the people of cyclone affected areas have shown in the face of adversity," the prime minister later tweeted, adding, “I assured them that the entire nation stands firmly with them in these difficult times."

Modi first visited Kavaratti in Lakshadweep, proceeding next to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and finally reaching Kerala by the evening.

In Kerala, he also said the centre would seriously examine Kerala’s report that the state had not received any prior cyclone alert.

According to official figures, about 70 people in Kerala and 18 people in Tamil Nadu were killed by the cyclone. About 100 fishermen are still missing in the sea.

PTI contributed to this story.

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