Published on : Tuesday, May 31, 2016
500 Indian pilgrims are reported to be stranded in the mountain region of Hilsa and Simikot of Nepal. The horde was heading towards Kailash Mansarovar, but bad weather took its toll on them. A rescue operation is under process to evacuate the pilgrims from the mountains.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup informed that the Indian Embassy, situated in Kathmandu, is in constant touch with Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary, Director General of Military Operations, Chief of Army Staff, and the police; to be informed about the stranded tourists. The group of tourists were going to visit Kailash as parts of a pilgrim groups, guided by private tour operators.
The Indian Mission placed in Kathmandu is sending First Secretary (Consular) Pranav Ganesh along with a staff, to Simikot, in order to evaluate the situation and coordinate with Nepal government and the tour operators to evacuate the tourists safely.
Mr. Swarup also informed that almost 100 pilgrims were evacuated from Simikot to Nepalganj, and around 50 were moved from Hilsa to Simikot. But the rescue operation is running slow because of the shortage of helicopters.
“According to Nepal Police, there are currently around 250 pilgrims in Hilsa and a similar number in Simikot. Today evacuation operations have started, but are being hampered by inclement weather. While there is no shortage of essential items, situation can normalise only when regular air services can be undertaken in an uninterrupted manner every day,” Swarup explained.
Though the evacuation is being conducted at a slow pace, the tourists are reported to be unharmed right at this moment.