Rescue Efforts for Israelis Stranded in Storm-Plagued India

YERUSHALAYIM -
A train moves on a track over a river in Gauhati, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

Israeli officials, working together with their counterparts in India, have organized a concerted effort to rescue dozens of Israelis who have been stranded in northern India because of poor weather conditions. Fierce rains, high winds, and snowfall in the upper elevations have affected a wide swath of the country’s north, near the border with Kashmir and in the Himalayas. Roads have been closed, trains and buses are not running, and supplies are running short, many travelers have told their families in Israel.

The Foreign Ministry has opened a situation room to handle requests by travelers for help, and requests by families in Israel to track down loved ones. The location of many of the travelers is known, but it was only on Wednesday, when the weather cleared to an extent, that an effort could be made to begin rescue efforts.

The rescue efforts are being conducted by insurance companies for their clients, coordinated by a firm called Hilik Magnus. The company has been dispatching jeeps and helicopters loaded with supplies, and evacuating Israelis to safe areas. The most dramatic rescue has been one in which an Israeli couple, stranded 4,200 meters on the slope of one of the peaks of the Himalayas, were removed by helicopter.