Evacuation of Kailash Mansarovar Pilgrims From Nepal Almost Over

After three days of rapid rescue ops, the evacuation of Kailash Mansovar pilgrims from Nepal is nearly over.

3 min read
Getting stranded pilgrims would be a gradual process depending upon the weather condition, said the Indian Embassy.

After three days of rapid rescue operations in the Nepalganj-Simikot-Hilsa sector of Nepal, the Indian embassy said on Friday, 6 July, that the evacuation process was almost over.

Speaking to ANI, Pranav Ganesh, First Secretary (Consular), Embassy of India in Nepal said,

Evacuation process of Kailash-Mansarovar yatris who are stranded in Nepal is almost over and we are in total control.
Pranav Ganesh, First Secretary

Nearly 200 Indian pilgrims were evacuated from Nepal's mountainous Hilsa region on 4 July, as authorities had stepped up efforts to rescue those stranded there due to heavy rain while returning from the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage in Tibet.

Another 119 people were moved from Simikot to Surkhet, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal said in a statement.

The Indian mission was monitoring the situation in the Nepalganj-Simikot-Hilsa sector and taking all possible measures to evacuate all stranded Indian nationals and Indian-origin people from the area.

"On the Hilsa-Simikot sector, helicopters made 35 sorties evacuating close to 200 people from Hilsa to Simikot," the embassy had said on 4 July.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed concerns over the stranded pilgrims in a tweet and asked officials to ensure that they get all the help.

While Hilsa is extremely infrastructure lean, Simikot has decent boarding, communication, and medical facilities.

"Five commercial flights and three Nepal Army chopper made sorties evacuating 119 people from Simikot to Surkhet. The Embassy has also arranged buses for transportation of the people from Surkhet to Nepalganj," the embassy had said.

It said the pilgrims were moved to Surkhet as the weather in Nepalgunj was bad.

On 3 July, around 250 of the over 1,500 Indian pilgrims stranded were evacuated and taken to safety from Hilsa near Tibet border, the embassy had said.

A total of 158 people were evacuated on 3 July from Simikot to Nepalganj, a fairly big city with all modern facilities and three hours road connectivity to Lucknow, it had said.

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.

Two pilgrims – Leela Narayanan Mandredath, 56, of Kerala and Satya Laxmi of Andhra Pradesh – died on Monday, 3 July, due to high altitude sickness in Simikot and a heart attack in Tibet respectively, the Indian Embassy had said.

Their bodies were brought by special helicopters to Kathmandu and Nepalganj respectively, it said in a statement.

Tenzin Norbu Lama, the managing director of Sunny Travels and Treks, one of the major tour operators handling the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, said Indian pilgrims were stranded as the air transport links were cut off due to bad weather but there were no problems in food and accommodation.

"However, mountain areas lack proper medical facilities in the event of pilgrims suffering from altitude sickness due to their prolonged stay in the region," Lama was quoted as saying by the local media.

The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibetan region of China is considered holy by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Every year, hundreds of Indians undertake the 'yatra' which involves trekking under inhospitable conditions.

Sushma Swaraj in a series of tweets, informed and requested the Nepal government about the situation of the unfortunate Indians and shared contacts of hotlines on Twitter.

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, through alternative routes in 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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