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Around 550 Gujarati tourists stranded in Nepal; most are safe

 Around 550 tourists from Gujarat are stranded in Nepal which was hit by a massive earthquake on Saturday, but most of them are safe, the state officials said.

Ahmedabad: Around 550 tourists from Gujarat are stranded in Nepal which was hit by a massive earthquake on Saturday, but most of them are safe, the state officials said.

The Gujarat government has set up a special control room in Gandhinagar with helpline numbers 079-2325-1900, 2325-1902 and 2325-1908.

"We have compiled the information that we have received ...Around 550 tourists from Gujarat are stranded in Nepal," state relief commissioner D N Pandey said.

"Most of them are safe," he added.

Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, meanwhile, said, "I express my grief over the loss of life due to the earthquake. We stand with Nepal in this hour of crisis. The state officials have been instructed to keep the disaster management mechanism on alert. I appeal to people not to panic and follow safety guidelines issued by the government."

Pandey also said that people should avoid visiting the quake-affected areas for some days.

Health Minister Nitin Patel said many Gujaratis visit Nepal during vacations.

"The state, alongwith the Centre, would do everything to bring the stranded tourists back," he added.

A strong earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale shook Nepal this morning, leaving a trail of destruction in the Himalayan nation.