Thousands of Indians living in Nepal have fled home in panic after last week’s deadly earthquake, with many leaving with little more than the clothes they were wearing.
With many houses either destroyed or damaged after Saturday’s killer quake and as people were afraid of more temblors, Indians have scrambled to get out of the Himalayan nation.
As it sent in search and rescue teams to its smaller neighbor, the Indian government has also mounted an airlift and mobilized planes and dozens of buses to bring its own citizens home.
Some of the returnees were tourists, but there were also many who had been living and working in Nepal for years, Reuters noted.
Indians comprise the largest group of foreigners in Nepal, with estimates putting their number at about 600,000 in a country of 28 million.
With an open 1,750-km border and a visa-free travel facility, it is difficult to put a precise figure on the number of Indians living or visiting there at any one time, officials say.
On the Indian side of the border, authorities have set up relief camps, both at border crossings and in larger cities like Gorakhpur, where hundreds of Indians gathered before traveling on to family or friends.
Officials said this week more than 20,000 Indians have already been brought back from Nepal.
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