Kailash Mansarovar: Over 300 pilgrims evacuated

KATHMANDU: A total of 342 stranded Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrims were evacuated by engaging 21 flights and two private helicopters from Simikot to Nepalgunj and Surkhet on Friday.

In response to the humanitarian situation arising out of more than 1,500 Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims stranded in Hilsa and Simikot, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu swiftly mounted rescue operations since July 2 to help facilitate the evacuation of the stranded pilgrims to safer locations in Nepal.

As part of the rescue operations, the Indian embassy deployed and dispatched its officials and representatives, with medicines in Hilsa, Simikot, Nepalganj, and Surkhet to facilitate possible assistance, including medical check-ups of elderly and ailing pilgrims.

An emergency control room, with contact numbers of embassy officials, has also been functioning 24X7 since July 2 to cater the need of the stranded pilgrims and their family members' queries. It is equipped with eight-member multilingual personnel  (Hindi/English/Tamil/Telugu/Kannada/Malayalam language speakers) to avoid language barriers.

As of July 6, with concerted efforts, a total of 1,225 stranded pilgrims were airlifted from Simikot to Nepalgunj and Surkhet. For pilgrims airlifted to Surkhet, the Indian embassy also put in a bus service to ferry pilgrims to Nepalgunj.

Likewise, the embassy also worked with tour operators to airlift around 675 stranded pilgrims at Hilsa to Simikot for onward evacuation to Nepalgunj and Surkhet.

During the evacuation process, 74 commercial flights were operated and the Indian embassy additionally pressed in private choppers MI-16, along with Nepal Army helicopters that made more than 142 sorties in the difficult terrains of Hilsa-Simikot-Nepalgunj sectors.

Earlier on Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had announced that 883 pilgrims, who had been stranded due to inclement weather, have been evacuated from Simikot to Surkhet and Nepalganj.

A number of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrims are stranded in parts of Nepal following a heavy downpour in the last few days.

Thousands of Indian pilgrims take part in the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra every year via Nepal in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China ahead of the monsoon season.

The tour is organised by the MEA each year between June and September, in cooperation with the government of the People's Republic of China through two different routes - Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) and Nathu La Pass (Sikkim).

 

Fast, accurate and updated real time local news is available on your smartphone and tablet.
STAY CONNECTED EVERYWHERE YOU GO!

Author

Agencies