#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 4°C Saturday 26 September 2020
Advertisement

Nepal plans new safety rules after country's worst trekking disaster leaves 43 dead

518 stranded trekkers were flown off the Himalayan mountains.

Sete Tamang, 20, avalanche survivor, waits to receive the bodies of his colleagues outside a morgue at Teaching Hospital in Katmandu, Nepal.
Sete Tamang, 20, avalanche survivor, waits to receive the bodies of his colleagues outside a morgue at Teaching Hospital in Katmandu, Nepal.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

NEPAL SAID IT will introduce new rules, improve weather forecasts and better monitor the movement of trekkers after the Himalayan country’s worst hiking disaster left dozens dead last week.

Tourism Department official Tulasi Gautam said trekkers venturing to mountain trails will be required to take trained local guides, and will have to rent a GPS tracking unit to help authorities trace them in case of an emergency.

Gautam said the government plans to announce the new rules nationwide before the next trekking season in the spring, adding:

The main reason for the high number of casualties is that those trekkers without proper guides were prompted to continue with their trek in attempts to beat the storm. So we plan to strictly enforce new rules of no trekking without porters or proper guides.

Yadav Koirala of Nepal’s Disaster Management Division said two more bodies of Nepalese national were recovered today by soldiers who remain in the Thorong La pass on the Annapurna circuit trekking route.

Nepal Avalanche An injured avalanche victim from Israel rides a bus to the airport to head homewards in Katmandu, Nepal. Source: Niranjan Shrestha

Although rescue operations ended on yesterday, a smaller number of soldiers remain in the area, he said.

At least 43 people were killed last week when a blizzard and avalanches swept the mountains of the Annapurna region in northern Nepal.

Of those, 21 were foreign trekkers and mountaineers from countries including India, Israel, Canada, Poland, Japan, China and Slovakia. Twenty-two were Nepalese guides, porters and villagers.

Nepal Avalanche Sete Tamang, 20, avalanche survivor, waits to receive the bodies of his colleagues outside a morgue at Teaching Hospital in Katmandu, Nepal. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Many of the trekkers around the Annapurna route are independent hikers who do not hire guides. The route is also dotted with lodges and tea stalls that sell food, snacks and lodging.

Authorities also plan to improve the weather forecasting system and make it easier to deliver information to remote trekking routes.

Nepal Avalanche Hospital personnel with the help of the relatives of the avalanche victims, shift the body of a victim onto a stretcher at a morgue. Source: Niranjan Shrestha

The government also said all trekkers must now register at check posts while entering and exiting the trekking areas. Previously, foreign trekkers were required to buy permits or at least register before entering trekking areas, but Nepalese nationals were not. And no one was required to check out when they left.

Home Ministry Secretary Surya Prasad Silwal said rescuers were able to fly 518 stranded trekkers, including 310 foreigners, to safety before the search operation ended yesterday.

“It was the biggest rescue operation in Nepal that included hundreds of soldiers, policemen and local officials. Swift response saved many lives,” Silwal said. He added that every available helicopter was used in the effort.

Read: Himalayan avalanches leave 29 people dead and hikers stranded on mountain>>

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next:

COMMENTS (1)