Tuesday, 26 September 2023

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10 Malaysian hikers found safe after Himachal Pradesh floods; efforts underway for their return

NEW DELHI, INDIA ― In a positive development, the Foreign Ministry of Malaysia (Wisma Putra) has confirmed that 10 Malaysian hikers who went missing during the floods in Himachal Pradesh, a state in northern India have been found safe.

The Ministry also revealed that the initial count of missing 12 individuals included one Chinese national and one British citizen, both of whom are reported to be safe as well.

A recent statement issued by the Malaysian Foreign Ministry on Thursday morning stated that contact has been established with one of the ten Malaysian citizens through the Malaysian High Commission in New Delhi.

The High Commission has received information that all members of the group are in safe condition in Manali, a high-altitude Himalayan resort in Himachal Pradesh state.

In response to this positive development, the Malaysian High Commission in New Delhi is making efforts to bring the group back to the capital city on Thursday.

“If the evacuation plan proceeds smoothly, the group is expected to take a return flight to Malaysia on the same day,” the statement wrote.

The Ministry expressed gratitude for the cooperation and immediate assistance provided by the Indian government authorities in their efforts to locate all Malaysian citizens.

The group of hikers went missing on Sunday (9 Jul) when they lost contact with their family members during their hike through the Hampta Pass in Himachal Pradesh due to heavy rainfall and floods in the region.

The floods caused by heavy monsoon rains have resulted in severe damage, particularly in Himachal Pradesh, where numerous lives have been lost. Local media reports indicate that about 90 people have lost their lives in Himachal Pradesh alone.

The states of Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Haryana have also experienced significant damage to roads and infrastructure.

Videos shared on social media have depicted the alarming scale of the flood situation in Himachal Pradesh, with mud and logs flowing through the streets and surrounding buildings.

In Delhi, precautionary measures have been taken as thousands of people living near the Yamuna riverbank were relocated to safer areas.

The water level of the Yamuna River in Delhi breached the danger mark after neighboring Haryana discharged a substantial amount of water from the Hathnikund barrage.

Responding to the widespread impact of heavy rains across the country, the Indian Finance Ministry has released approximately US$920 million to aid 22 states in dealing with the aftermath of the floods.

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