At least 150 from Maharashtra are feared missing in Nepal, hit by one of the worst earthquakes — 7.9 on the Richter scale — in recent times. According to figures released by the state’s Disaster Management Unit (DMU), 400 people from the state are stranded in the neighbouring country.
Officials said some of those in Nepal could not establish contact, owing to loss of mobile network. The state government has kept two teams ready for search and rescue operations it announced on Saturday. The government has set up two emergency cells in Mumbai and Delhi to help people reach home safely.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has directed the state administration to keep the teams ready to be sent to Nepal, if needed. “We are in constant touch with the ministry of external affairs and have assured them that we will extend all sorts of help,” he said.
“A battalion of National Disaster Response Force and a team of 30 BMC personnel are ready for deployment. The decision, however, will be taken by the Central government,” said Suhas Diwase, director, Disaster Management Unit (DMU) of Maharashtra.
According to official figures, around 400 tourists from Maharashtra are either stuck in Nepal or are on their way to Kathmandu. At the time of going to press, the government had identified 103 from Pune, 27 from Mumbai, 55 from Nashik, five from Daund and four from Satara.
Diwase said all the tourists are safe and no casualty has been reported yet. Most of the tour operators have reported to the government that they have arranged to bring back the tourists safely.
“All our tourists are safe. There was panic for about 15 minutes as the group was visiting Pashupatinath temple when the incident took place, but all is fine now,” said Sudhir Patil, director, Veena World tour operators.
Another group of tourists that was travelling through Kesari Tours were to come back to Mumbai on Saturday, but owing to the earthquake, their journey has been delayed.
Meanwhile, the DMU has been getting constant calls from relatives “We received calls from various districts. The information will be passed on to the MEA with request to expedite the rescue operations,” said a DMU officer.