05/25/2016, 17.09
NEPAL
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As Everest kills again, Nepali authorities try to downplay the challenges

by Christopher Sharma

As a result of the 2015 earthquake, old trails and tracks were wiped out, a major blow to one of the mainstays of Nepal’s economy recovers. In recent days, three climbers and a Sherpa died, which has led the authorities to downplay the gravity of the situation, noting that climbing “is not an easy task” and that people do die in accidents.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – At least four people have died trying to reach the top of Mt Everest in the last four days.

As hundreds of other climbers wait in base camps, scared to go forward, the authorities scramble to downplay the dangers fearing the loss of revenue from mountain tourism.

Last year, the sector suffered a devastating blow from the April 2015 earthquake when dozens of climbers were among the thousands killed.

The quake itself wiped out tested and well-known trails and tracks. For months, access was off-limits.

With time, Sherpas and porters were able to rebuild the trails to the summit. Eventually, the government authorised the re-opening of base camps.

However, safety remains an issue as evinced by the tragedies. The four who died are Furba Sherpa, a 27-year-old Nepali guide, Ariek Arnold from the Netherlands, Maria Stredam from Australia, and Subas Paul from India.

Their death has sent a chill among climbers waiting at base camps to resume their trek. Yet, "Climbing Everest is not an easy task,” said Nepal Tourism Minister Ananada Pokhrel. At times, “people have died in accidents. Although we should not worry too much, we should err on the side of caution to minimise casualties.”

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