‘Efforts to rescue Mansarovar pilgrims stepped up’

Kathmandu, July 6

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

“As part of the rescue operations, the embassy deployed its officials and representatives with medicines in all the affected areas like Hilsa, Simikot, Nepalganj and Surkhet to facilitate possible assistance, including medical check-ups of elderly and ailing pilgrims,” read a press release issued by the Embassy.

An Emergency Control Room, with contact numbers of embassy officials, has also been functioning round the clock since July 2 to cater the need of the stranded pilgrims and their family members’ queries, it informed.

The Emergency Control Room is equipped with eight-member multilingual personnel to avoid language barriers.

As of today, with concerted efforts, a total of 1,225 stranded pilgrims were airlifted from Simikot to Nepalgunj and Surkhet. For pilgrims airlifted to Surkhet, the embassy also provided 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 embassy additionally pressed in private choppers MI-16 along with Nepali Army helicopters that made more than 142 sorties in the difficult terrains of Hilsa-Simikot-Nepalgunj sectors, the press release said.