Over 100 Indian pilgrims were evacuated from Simikot in Nepal today as rescue work intensified to bring back more than 1,500 people stranded in Nepal's mountainous region due to heavy rain.
"So far 104 pilgrims have been rescued from the site. Seven commercial flights have so far been operated for the rescue works," an Indian Embassy official told PTI.
Four people from embassy staff, two each in Simikot and Tibet, have been deployed with necessary facilities so that the stranded pilgrims could contact their families in India.
The evacuated pilgrims were taken to Nepalganj, bordering India.
The Indian Embassy had earlier said in a statement that there were about 525 Indian pilgrims stranded in Simikot in Humla district.
The embassy is continuously monitoring the situation along Nepalganj-Simikot-Hilsa route of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (through Nepal), the statement said. The weather continues to be inclement.
The embassy said it has placed its representatives in Nepalganj and Simikot, who are personally in touch with every stranded pilgrim. They are ensuring proper food and lodging facilities for them.
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.
The mission is 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.
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