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10 more bodies recovered in Kollam district

By G. Mahadevan and N.J. Nair

KOLLAM, DEC. 28. With the recovery of 10 more bodies today, the death toll in Kollam district in Sunday's tsunami onslaught has risen to 142. Among the bodies recovered today was that of a six-month-old child.

Navy divers recovered one body from the TS Canal near Ayiram Thengu this afternoon.

Four hundred people living in an island near AyiramThengu are feared missing. Of the 3,000-odd members of 1,000 families who live in this island, only about 2,600 have been accounted for in the various relief camps opened in the area. Owing to the haphazard manner in which records are being kept at these camps, people are unable to know weather a missing relative is in a camp or not.

With more and more people turning up at the relief camps, more camps have been opened, taking the number of relief centres to 37.

Mass cremation

The tsunami-hit Alappad panchayt witnessed a mass cremation of 45 bodies that were recovered from the wreckage since Monday.

Twenty-four bodies were cremated at the Vedavyasa Araya Samajam ground and 21 bodies at the old ground of the Government Upper Primary School, Azheekal.

The funeral rites began with members of the Mata Amrithanandamayi Mutt reciting the Bhagavad Gita.

All the bodies were brought in containers and ambulances to the cremation ground.

The bodies were brought in coffins and shown to their relatives before cremation. Hundreds of people converged at Azheekal to pay homage to the departed souls.

The mass funeral was organised jointly by the Ideal Relief Wing, RSS, Matha Amrithanandamayi Mutt and the Araya Samajam.

While the arrangements for the funeral were being made, the former Chief Minister A.K. Antony, the Health Minister, K.K. Ramachandran, and the Water Resources Minister, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, reached the cremation grounds.

But they had to face the wrath of the local people and had to leave soon afterwards.

The local MLA, A.N. Rajan Babu, was mobbed by the local people and had a tough time explaining why he did not turn up at the Azeekal beach even 48 hours after the tragedy.

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