1,500 Indian Mansarovar pilgrims stranded in Nepal

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Kathmandu, July 3 (IANS) Over 1,500 Indian nationals returning after pilgrimage at the Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet are stranded in Simikot in Nepal’s Humla district due to heavy rain and bad weather.

“Bad weather is hampering the rescue operations. Some of the pilgrims are stranded in Hilsa, close to Nepal-Tibet border, while some are stranded in Simikot,” said Pranav Ganesh, First Secretary at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.

The Embassy said there were 525 pilgrims stranded in Simikot, 550 in Hilsa and another 500 more in Tibet.

It said the situation was continuously being monitored and as soon as weather got better, the pilgrims would be rescued through helicopters and brought to Nepalgunj.

“As of July 3 morning, the weather situation remains inclement and there is very little chance of operating evacuation flights,” said the Indian Embassy.

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Weather conditions across Nepal have worsened since Monday due to perpetual downpour in which at least a dozen people were killed.

The Embassy said it has placed its representatives in Nepalganj and Simikot to ensure proper food and lodging facilities for the pilgrims. The police have been asked to take care of those stranded, it added.

In Simikot, Indian officials are providing medical help to the elderly pilgrims. The Indian government has also set up hotlines for the stranded people to contact their families.

The Indian mission has asked all tour operators in the region to try hold pilgrims back in Tibet as far as possible since the medical and civic facilities on Nepal side were inadequate.

The Embassy is also trying to use Nepal Army helicopters for evacuation.

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–IANS

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