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Nepal Army spokesperson Gokul Bhandari
Nepal Army spokesperson Gokul Bhandari

900 pilgrims stranded in Hilsa, Simikot: Nepal Army

ANI | Updated: Jul 04, 2018 20:41 IST

Kathmandu [Nepal], Jul 4 (ANI): Nepal Army spokesperson Gokul Bhandari on Wednesday said that almost 900 Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrims were still stranded in Hilsa and Simikot areas.
Speaking to ANI on the rescue operations, Bhandari said, "Simikot is a district headquarter, so there's no problem there. But, Hilsa is on an altitude of over 11,000 ft. It is located on the Nepal-China border. Civil operators are evacuating people from Hilsa to Simikot. Two flights have been completed, and a third one is going to Simikot."
He further underscored that rescue operations could not be carried out on July 3 owing to bad weather conditions in Surkhet.
"One MI-17 helicopter of the Nepalese Army is stationed in Surkhel. The weather was bad in Surkhel yesterday. But, it was good in Simikot and Nepalgunj. Civil operators did their job in Simikot and Nepalganj. Elderly and sick people are being evacuated on priority," Bhandari added.
Asked about challenges hampering rescue operations, he said that the afternoon winds and the high altitude were the main obstacles, adding that the civil operators are braving all odds to operate smoothly and rescue stranded people.
Earlier in the day, at least 158 pilgrims were rescued from Simikot and at least 250 others were brought to Simikot from Hilsa.
According to the headcount, there are 643 people stranded in Simikot and 350 others stranded in Hilsa. No casualties have been reported, as per the Indian Embassy in Nepal.
A number of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrims are stranded in parts of Nepal following a heavy downpour.
The Indian Embassy in Nepal issued a list of hotline numbers for the pilgrims stranded in Nepal and their family members. It is monitoring the situation along Nepalgunj-Simikot-Hilsa route of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (through Nepal).
Thousands of Indian pilgrims take part in the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra every year via Nepal in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China ahead of the monsoon season.
The tour is organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) each year between June and September in cooperation with the government of People's Republic of China through two different routes - Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) and Nathu La Pass (Sikkim). (ANI)