Over 100 Indian pilgrims were airlifted today after being stranded for three days in Nepal’s Humla district on their way back home from the Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage in Tibet.
Out of the 165 pilgrims who were stranded in Humla’s Simikot due to bad weather, 110 were airlifted after flights were operated following improvement in weather conditions, according to Indian Embassy sources. Around 55 pilgrims are still in Simikot and they will be evacuated tomorrow. The pilgrims were stranded for three days as commercial flights could not operate due to bad weather.
Heavy rains in central and western Nepal have forced domestic airlines to suspend their regular flights. Last month, more than 1,500 Indians were stranded at various places in Nepal on their way to Kailash Mansarovar and back. Following the incident, the Indian government on July 5 had issued an advisory for travel to Kailash Mansarovar through the Nepal route.
The advisory had stated that Simikot and Hilsa are places lacking good medical and lodging facilities and therefore, pilgrims should get themselves medically examined before starting their pilgrimage and also carry medicines for up to a period of one month. Simikot and Hilsa are connected to the rest of the world only by small aircraft or helicopters and there is no other way to travel in and out of these places.
These small aircraft or helicopters can operate only when the weather is absolutely clear, as the terrain and route is extremely dangerous. The embassy has deputed its representatives at Hilsa, Simikot and Humla for monitoring and taking action in case of emergency.