Sherpas demand Rs 1 mn for accident victims; threaten strike
Kathmandu: Nepalese Sherpa guides, who play a key role in mountain expeditions, on Monday warned of an agitation if their demand of Rs 1 million in compensation for their 13 colleagues killed in the deadliest accident on Mount Everest last week is not met.
The climbers and mountain guides, during a meeting held at the Everest Base Camp at 5,300 metre altitude, decided to ask the government to provide Nepali Rs 1 million compensation for each climber, a statement issued by the Sherpas said.
A massive avalanche struck Mount Everest last Friday killing at least 13 Nepalese Sherpa guides and injuring several others in the deadliest mountaineering accident on the the 8,848-metre-high peak.
"We will halt all mountaineering expeditions for a week to mourn the deceased climbers," Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), said.
"We are also asking the government to set up a Mountaineering Relief Fund by allocating 30 per cent of the royalty received from the climbers,"he said.
The Sherpas have also asked the government to bear all expenses for treatment of those injured during the avalanche, provide compensation to all the climbers who were rescued from the mountain and double their current insurance amount.
At present each climber is insured for USD 10,000.
They have demanded to install statues of all the deceased climbers in Kathmandu for their recognition.
"We will launch an agitation, if these demands are not met," the Sherpas said.
Meanwhile, six dead bodies were brought to Shahid Park in Kathmandu today for a funeral procession where Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Development Prakash Man Singh and other senior government officials paid homage to the Sherpas by garlanding their dead bodies.
The services of Sherpa guides are considered to be important for climbing mountains.
If the Sherpa guides go on strike it could seriously disrupt the rest of the climbing season, a mountaineering official said.
There were about 400 foreign climbers representing 39 expedition teams on the mountain and equal number of Sherpa guides along with a number of support staff such as porters, cooks and cleaners are at the base camp.
Nine Sherpas were rescued alive after the avalanche swept away about 25 climbers and mountain guides on Friday.
The rescue team abandoned their search today due to heavy snowfall.
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