Over 20,000 Indian nationals have been evacuated from quake-torn Nepal and arrangements were being made to take them to their homes by trains from Raxaul, the government said Tuesday.
As many as 20,000 Indian nationals have reached Raxaul from various destinations of quake-torn Nepal since Monday, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
Pradhan said that arrangements were being made for trains to send all the evacuees belonging to different states back home.
Officials said so far 13 Indians have died in Nepal. These include six from Assam, two doctors from Kerala, Kashmiri-origin mountaineer Renu Fotedar, Telugu actor K Vijay and a daughter of an employee at the Indian embassy, according to reports
Seven people from Assam were killed in the devastating earthquake and their bodies were being brought from the Himalayan nation back to the state, agency reports quoting officials said.
"We have received information from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) that some bodies have been recovered and seven of them are of those from Assam," commissioner secretary of the Assam home department LS Changson told media.
The official said 40 of the people from Assam who were stranded in Nepal have been brought back to New Delhi till Monday, and the state government was making efforts to bring them back to Guwahati soon.
Six other stranded people on Monday morning reached their native place in Morigaon district on their own from Kathmandu, said Changson.
Assam government through its helplines opened after the disaster has received inquiries from the relatives of 120 people since April 25.
As many as 18 tourists from Maharashtra are still missing in Nepal, four days after the earthquake. Another 600 tourist are stuck in Kathmandu and other cities of the Nepal and are expected to return in next couple of days.
According to statistics available with the disaster management unit of the government, about 550 people from the state have reached their homes. “350 of them returned via Delhi after arriving from Nepal in commercial or Indian Airforce aircraft. 250 have returned or on the way back by road via Gorakhpur,” said KH Govindraj, secretary, relief and rehabilitation.
He said that people stuck in Kathmandu and other cities will be flown back to the state in the next two days.
“Fortunately no casualty had been reported so far. There are about 18 people who are not traceable as per the information given by their relatives. We are hopeful that even they will be traced in next few hours,” said another officer from the department.
At least 250 Keralites are said to be stranded in quake-hit Nepal and efforts are on to bring them back safely, state minister for NORKA KC Joseph said on Monday.
The two missing doctors from Kerala Deepak Thomas (27) and AS Ershad (28) were confirmed dead on Tuesday. Their relatives, who rushed to the Himalayan country, identified their bodies on Tuesday.
The two along with another friend, Dr Abin Suri who is critically injured, had gone to Nepal to spend a short vacation before joining their post-graduate (MD) classes.
Earlier there were unconfirmed reports that both were recuperating at the Medical College and Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu. This gave enough hope for the worried relatives but it was short lived. Their bodies will be brought to the state on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in a Facebook post said around 56 Keralites have reached India after travelling about 150-200 km by road. They have been asked to contact the Kerala House, New Delhi where all help will be provided to them.
At least 108 people from West Bengal were missing in earthquake-hit Nepal, where 336 others from the state have been trapped after the devastating natural calamity, Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said .
Banerjee also said the series of quakes and aftershocks have affected 62 blocks in her state.
Relief writ large on their faces, 32 persons hailing from Tamil Nadu arrived in Chennai from quake-hit Nepal. The 32 persons were flown in from Delhi, where they were brought by the Indian rescue mission, and later brought to Chennai in batches by different flights since Monday night.
The government meanwhile has asked Indian citizens in Nepal not to panic saying ke of the devastating quake, saying an evacuation process is in place and the situation is improving.
"There are a large number of Indians. We have an open border and visa-free access and easily walk in to each other's country. Our priority right now is to focus on the injured, elderly people, children and women," India's ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae said.
He asked Indians trying to return home from quake-affected areas not to panic.
( With inputs from PTI and IANS)