Nepal assures all support to foreign expeditions to Mt Everest

Mount Everest
Kathmandu, April 30: Nepal today said expeditions to Mount Everest have not been halted despite the worst disaster that killed 16 Sherpas and assured foreign climbers that it will provide all support if they plan mountaineering on the world's highest peak.

"We encourage the foreign climbers to resume their climbing, and we are ready to provide all necessary support," Tourism Minister Bhim Prasad Achayra said at a condolence meeting held here to mourn the death of 16 Sherpa guides who were buried in the deadliest avalanche on April 18.

Achayra said that climbing has not been halted for this spring despite half of the Sherpa guides leaving the base camp following the disaster.

The government is ready to provide all kind of support including mountain guides to those foreign climbers who wish to resume their expedition in this season, he told reporters.

Achayra dismissed the media reports that all expedition teams have abandoned the climbing and all Sherpa guides have left the base camp. Although some expedition teams have left the mountain there are still some climbers in the base camp preparing for the climbing.

He said the validity of the permit to climb the mountain will be extended to five years period. Those who could not climb this time can climb the mountain any time within the next five years period, he added.

He said the government is planning to introduce early warning system in the Himalayas on the basis of records of fluctuating temperature that would be helpful to forecast avalanche in the Himalayas.

The government is also setting up a fund to provide relief to the family members of the victims, he said, adding certain percentage of money will be allocated from the royalty received from the mountaineering.

"Though the tragedy is heart breaking and the government understands the deep shock it has left in the minds of the families of the mountain guides, the government has done everything it can to heal their wound," he said.

The government has increased the insurance coverage by 50 per cent to USD 150,000 and provided necessary expenditure for treatment of the injured Sherpas, he said.

The government has provided Rs 40,000 cash as immediate relief to the kin of each of the deceased climbers. However, Pasang Dolma, sister of mountain guide Furba Ongyal Sherpa, said the government's relief amount is too little and the government has not done anything concrete for the welfare of the kin of the deceased mountain guides.


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