Kathmandu, Jul 4: Nearly 100 Indian pilgrims were evacuated, as authorities stepped up efforts to rescue those stranded in Nepal's mountainous region due to heavy rain while returning from the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage in Tibet.
Five commercial flights and one Nepal Army chopper operated today, transporting 96 Indian stranded pilgrims from Simikot to Surkhet as the weather condition in Nepalgunj is bad. On the Hilsa-Simikot route, three Nepal Army choppers operated, the Indian Embassy said.
Around 250 of the over 1,500 Indian pilgrims stranded were evacuated safely from Hilsa till yesterday, the embassy had said yesterday. While Hilsa is extremely infrastructure lean, Simikot has decent boarding, communication and medical facilities, it had A total of 158 people were evacuated yesterday from Simikot to Nepalganj, which is a fairly big city with all modern facilities and three hours road connectivity to Lucknow, the mission had said.
The embassy has already set up a hotline for pilgrims and their family members, which also comprises other language speaking staff for Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam speakers. Two pilgrims -- Leela Narayanan Mandredath, 56, of Kerala and Satya Laxmi of Andhra Pradesh -- died on Monday due to high altitude sickness in Simikot and heart attack in Tibet respectively, the Indian Embassy had said.
Their bodies were brought by special helicopters to Kathmandu and Nepalganj respectively, it said in a statement. Tenzin Norbu Lama, the managing director of Sunny Travels and Treks, one of the major tour operators handling the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, said Indian pilgrims were stranded as the air transport links were cut off due to bad weather but there were no problems in food and accommodation
. "However, mountain areas lack proper medical facilities in the event of pilgrims suffering from altitude sickness due to their prolonged stay in the region," Lama was quotes as saying by the local media. 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.