India's president expresses condolences for cyclone victims

An Indian bystander looks at strong waves due to gusty winds in the wake of severe cyclonic storm 'Thane' at Marina Beach in Chennai on December 30, 2011.

Story highlights

  • Pratibha Devisingh Patil offers condolences to "bereaved families" of 27 killed by storm
  • She also wishes a "speedy recovery" to those injured by Cyclone Thane
  • Electrocution was to blame for some of the deaths, an official said

India's president expressed her condolences Sunday for those killed by a devastating cyclone that has forced thousands to seek refuge in emergency shelters.

The death toll along India's southeastern coastline stood at 27 as of Sunday, according to officials. This was two days after Cyclone Thane brought heavy rains and winds gusting at almost 90 miles per hour at its peak to the area.

Pratibha Devisingh Patil reached out to some of those affected by the storm in the states of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, according to a statement posted on her website.

"The president has conveyed her condolences to the members of bereaved families and wished speedy recovery to the injured persons," her office said.

The Tamil Nadu district of Cuddalore, south of the city of Chennai, was hit particularly hard. The storm uprooted trees, ripped off traffic signals from their posts and sent shards of glass and other debris whizzing through the air.

Amuthavalli, the district's top official who goes by a single name, told CNN that some people lost their lives when walls collapsed or downed power lines caused electrocution.

Some 7,000 people are staying in emergency shelters set up in school buildings, community halls and 20 cyclone centers in the Cuddalore area, she said.

One of those killed was a French national, the French Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.