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Rescue of Indian Mansarovar pilgrims continues

Kathmandu, July 4: Efforts to evacuate stranded Indian pilgrims in Simikot and Hilsa in Nepal’s Humla district due to incessant rain and bad weather continued for the second day on Wednesday as only 200 pilgrims were evacuated. One pilgrim died on Tuesday while over 1,200 others returning from Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet are still stranded due to inclement weather. According to officials, bad weather in Nepal has slowed down the rescue of Indian and if the weather improves by Thursday, evacuation of over 1,200 stranded Indian nationals will be completed. “Now we have rescheduled the deadline. If the weather permits frequent flights, we will able to relocate from highlands of Simikot, Hilsa and Tibet to safe places like Nepalgunj, Surkhet and nearby Indian bordering cities,” said an official handling the rescue operation. The officials said that none of the over 1,200 stranded pilgrims were facing shortage of food, medicine and shelter. According to Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism, 553 pilgrims are still stranded in Simikot, 300 in Hilsa and over 3,00 are waiting evacuation in Tibet. “The Embassy continues to monitor the situation in Nepalganj-Simikot-Hilsa sector and is taking all possible measures to evacuate all stranded Indian nationals and Indian-origin people from the area,” a situation report of Indian Embassy in Kathmandu reads. On the Hilsa-Simikot sector, helicopters evacuated close to 200 people, who will be airlifted to Nepalgunj on Thursday. In a bid to expedite the evacuation process, the Indian Embassy is also exploring the possibility of chartering helicopters and operating them on various evacuation routes subject to weather conditions and willingness/ability of the carriers to ply on these routes. (IANS)

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