All the 1,430 stranded Indian pilgrims who were stranded while on their way back from the Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet have been safely evacuated from Nepal’s mountainous regions on Saturday, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said.
The last batch of 160 stranded pilgrims was airlifted from Hilsa and Simikot districts to Nepalgunj and Surkhet towns close to the Indian border.
“The evacuation process completed after 160 stranded pilgrims were evacuated today from Simikot and Hilsa. Embassy’s team continues to be stationed to monitor the situation,” the Indian mission tweeted.
“As of today, 1,430 stranded pilgrims were airlifted from Simikot/Hilsa to Nepalgunj/Surkhet and have achieved a zero in both these places,” it said.
The pilgrims were stranded for the past five-six days as heavy downpour in western Nepal damaged roads and hampered transportation.
The Indian embassy evacuated them and provided all essential items, an official said. Commercial flights and Nepal Army helicopters were also deployed to rescue them.
“All of them have been airlifted from Hilsa and Simikot to Surkhet and Nepalgunj, border towns of Nepal. Two embassy staff were also deployed at the site for facilitating evacuation and establishing communication with the family members of the victims,” embassy spokesperson Roshan Lepcha said.
“They were evacuated from Hilsa and brought to Simikot from where they were airlifted to Nepalgunj and Surkhet, border towns,” he said.
He said the embassy had coordinated with local tour operators and security people to carry out the rescue works.
In view of the situation, the Indian embassy had on Thursday issued a revised advisory for prospective pilgrims, suggesting medical examination before taking up the yatra.
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.
(With inputs from agencies)