Search and rescue personnel on Tuesday recovered the bodies of eight fishermen from the sea off the Kozhikode coast in Kerala, official sources said, taking the death toll in cyclone Ockhi to 48.

The decomposed bodies recovered by the Coast Guard and the Marine Enforcement Department will be taken to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital for conducting DNA tests for identification purposes.

The cyclone struck the southern districts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu on November 30. Even after about two weeks of the natural calamity, authorities continue to grope in the dark with regard to missing fishermen, with the Latin Church claiming that persons missing in the cyclone’s wake are more than the government figure of 70.

On Tuesday, a group of Latin Church officials led by Archbishop M. Susaipakiam called on Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam and submitted a memorandum seeking urgent steps by the Centre for the rehabilitation of the affected fishermen.

“We have urged the Governor to take up the case of affected families with the Centre. We have also urged him for continuation of search and rescue operations,” the Archbishop told the media in the state capital.

While the Pinarayi Vijayan government has announced compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the family of each victim and Rs 5 lakh to those permanently disabled due to the disaster, the weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday is likely to announce fresh soaps for the affected.