India seeks Nepal aid to evacuate pilgrims

“The Mission has been able to evacuate about 150 pilgrims from Hilsa to Simikot,” said an official.

A similar operation was undertaken by nine commercial flights that were used to evacuate 158 pilgrims from Simikot to Nepalganj.

For quicker coordination, the Indian embassy sent a four-member team to Nepalganj on Tuesday evening. It will reach Hilsa and Simikot to intensify evacuation efforts. The welfare of the pilgrims is also being tracked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“PM Narendra Modi is in touch with MEA and other high officials regarding the wellbeing of stranded pilgrims in Nepal,” his office said in a statement.

While the pilgrims have been stranded at Simikot amid bad weather for a few days, the situation turned serious on Monday morning when Ms. Narayanan died due to high altitude-related sickness. In view of the worsening health condition of the elderly citizens, the embassy in Kathmandu has made medical arrangements as well.

“The mission representative in Simikot has got a local doctor to do a health check-up of all the elderly pilgrims. In case of any medical complication, they are being given preventive medication and counselling of dos and don’ts,” a source said.

“The situation continues to be under control. The Mission remains confident that all Indians would be evacuated over the next three to four days if weather continues to improve,” an official said.

Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari said in a statement, “After three days of flight cancellation due to weather conditions at Simikot, stranded (Indian) pilgrims were airlifted to Nepalganj today….700 persons are still at Simikot and tomorrow we will continue to airlift.”

Hotline numbers:

Pranav Ganesh First Secretary +977-9851107006 Tashi Khampa +977-98511550077 Tarun Raheja +977 9851107021 Rajesh Jha +977 9818832398 Yogananda +977 9823672371 (Kannada) Pindi Naresh +977 9808082292 (Telugu) R Murugan +977 98085006 (Tamil) Ranjith +977 9808500644 (Malayalam)

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