Fate of 100 Israelis in quake-stricken Nepal still unknown
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Fate of 100 Israelis in quake-stricken Nepal still unknown

Authorities in Jerusalem struggle to contact backpackers in far-flung areas facing electrical shortages and bad weather

An injured person is loaded onto a rescue helicopter at Everest Base Camp,  April 26, 2015. (AFP/Roberto Schmidt)
An injured person is loaded onto a rescue helicopter at Everest Base Camp, April 26, 2015. (AFP/Roberto Schmidt)

Authorities have yet to establish contact with some 100 Israelis known to be in Nepal, the Foreign Ministry said Monday. The figure is down from 150 on Sunday.

Many of the Israelis are hiking in far-flung mountains in the Himalayan nation, areas where Nepalese authorities have yet to establish contact with entire villages believed damaged in the wake of Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake.

Over 3,600 are believed dead and over 6,500 wounded from the temblor, with the figures expected to rise steeply in the coming days.

The Foreign Ministry has said it believes the Israelis are likely okay, but unable to communicate with the outside world due to electrical outages and bad weather throughout Nepal.

Mark Sofer, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director general for Asia and the Pacific, is in Kathmandu to oversee Israel’s efforts to locate and rescue the stranded Israelis.

A group of families and friends of Israeli hikers stranded in Nepal was reported to be demonstrating Monday afternoon in front of the Foreign Ministry’s headquarters in Jerusalem. The demonstration called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman to increase efforts to rescue the missing Israelis, including dozens believed to be in the Gosaikunda lake area, a favorite destination for Israeli backpackers.

One relative told Army Radio later Monday, however, that the families appreciate what the ministry is doing.

The first flight carrying Israelis rescued from the quake-stricken country, which was sent under the auspices of Magen David Adom, arrived in Israel Sunday night.

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