More than 150 Mansarovar pilgrims evacuated from Nepal

RSTV Bureau

Over 1500 pilgrims stranded in Nepal due to inclement weather. (Image: Twitter/@DDNewsLive)

About 308 Indian pilgrims were evacuated from Simikot in Nepal today as rescue work intensified to bring back safely more than 1,500 Indians who have been stranded in Nepal’s mountainous region due to heavy rain while returning from the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage in Tibet.

Over 1,500 Indian nationals returning from the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage were stranded in Nepal because of bad weather.

The 150 pilgrims were evacuated from Hilsa to Simikot and 158 from Simikot to Nepalganj. Nepalese army also helped India in the evacuation process in the hostile terrain. Evacuation will continue and will take three to four days to evacuate all.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was in touch with MEA and other top officials regarding the well being of Indian pilgrims.

The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said in a statement that there were about 525 Indian pilgrims stranded in Simikot in Humla district, 550 in Hilsa and several others on the Tibet side. The embassy is continuously monitoring the situation along Nepalganj-Simikot-Hilsa route of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (through Nepal), the statement said, as the weather remains inclement and chances of operating evacuation flights appear minimum. The mission also looking at various alternatives to evacuate the stranded people from Simikot, including through alternative routes through Simikot-Surkhet/Simikot-Jumla/Simikot-Mugu.

India has also requested the Nepal government for army helicopters to evacuate the stranded Indian nationals. The embassy has already set up a hotline for pilgrims and their family members, which also comprises other language speaking staff for Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam speakers.

The embassy is also said to have placed its representatives in Nepalganj and Simikot, who are personally in touch with the stranded pilgrims.

They are ensuring that proper food and lodging facilities are available to the pilgrims. They have been told to accord first priority to clearing up the situation in Hilsa, which is lean in infrastructure compared to other areas.

The embassy has also asked all tour operators to try and hold pilgrims back on the Tibet side as far as possible since the medical and civic facilities on Nepal side are inadequate.

In Simikot a health check up has been carried out on all the elderly pilgrims and they are being provided required medical help.

(With inputs from PTI)