Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - At least 28 people have died due to the snowstorm that hit the Annapurna Circuit, the famous hiking trail in the Himalayas in Nepal. Among the victims there are also 12 foreigners, but the highest losses are among sherpas (local guides).
Until yesterday, rescue workers had rescued 117 people, but
about 70 are still missing. At the time of the disaster,
more than 200 people were in the area.
The storm and subsequent avalanches appear to be related to the cyclone
Hudhud, which originated in
the Indian Ocean five days ago and
has hit the Indian
states of Andhra Pradesh and
A team of rescuers recovered 16 bodies from the Dump base camp (Mustang district), at an altitude of about 5 thousand meters, where the greatest number of people died. According to the chief district officer Baburam Bhandari, climbers and their guides were stranded by the snowstorm. Of the victims, seven were foreigners, three Poles, three Israelis and a Vietnamese. The other six were Nepalese citizens.
October and November is high season in the northern districts of Manang and Mustang. The Annapurna Circuit attracts at least 40 thousand people every year, from experienced climbers to amateurs. "Every day - Junu Kumari Gurung, an official of the Annapurna Conservation Area explains - we issue entry permits for 280-300 people". Security problems arise, however, with climbers failing to use authorized travel agencies. "In the event of storms or avalanches - emphasizes Renju Karma Sherpa, president of Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (Taan) - these agencies have the highest number of disappeared."
Those who pay the price of some climbers lack of scruples are often the Nepalese. In recent history, more than 250 people have died attempting to climb Mount Everest: The majority of these were natives. This in April, there was the worst fatal accident, which claimed the life of 16 Sherpas.