Israeli tourists stranded in India airlifted to safety

Israeli tourists stranded in India airlifted to safety

Eight backpackers were stuck in the Pin Valley after flash floods cut off roads

A view of the Pin Valley in the Spiti region of India (photo credit: CC BY Vikash Prasad/Flickr)
A view of the Pin Valley in the Spiti region of India (photo credit: CC BY Vikash Prasad/Flickr)

Eight Israeli tourists who were stranded in an isolated village in India’s Pin Valley National Park since June 6 were airlifted to safety on Sunday and Monday following involvement by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

The travelers were stuck in a village in the Spiti Valley region in northern India after flash floods and mudslides, caused by the melting of snow and glaciers along the India-China border, cut off the main road to the village.

The condition of the travelers had deteriorated in the days before the rescue; they were suffering from malnourishment and dehydration and were experiencing breathing difficulties due to the high altitude in the Himalaya Mountains. The Israelis had portioned out a daily ration of 100 grams of rice per day, according to Yedioth Aharonoth.

The village in which they were staying was nearly out of drinking water by the time they were rescued. Local residents were also short of food and water.

The Foreign Ministry had tried for days to rescue the Israelis, but due to bad weather conditions, it was impossible to access the area with a helicopter, according to Yedioth. The Israeli authorities, working together with the local Indian government, were finally able to send in a helicopter on Sunday to airlift two of the tourists who were in need of medical attention, and the remaining six were rescued on Monday. The travelers were brought to Kaza and Manali, larger towns in the region.

A local official told The Times of India on Sunday that they were making efforts to ferry people across the damaged road, “We have decided to install a ropeway and a span to ensure connectivity as repair of damaged road stretch is not possible right now because of overflowing water and muck.”

However, reports on Tuesday in the India press indicate that the floods have not subsided, and three villages in the valley are still in danger of being washed away. The Indian government sent in a helicopter with rations and kerosene, but it was a woefully insufficient amount, locals complained.

The local government has also sent medics and administrative officers into the area to help the some 2,000 stranded Pin Valley villagers, an official told India’s Hill Post on Monday. The official said electricity would soon be restored to the region.

Three British tourists who were also stranded in the Pin Valley have reached safety as well.

read more: