Kathmandu, 19 October 2014: A total of twenty people lost their lives in the blizzard that caught trekkers off guard Myagdi, Manang and Mustang districts a few days ago, according to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.
Informing about the natural disaster at the International Relations and Labour Committee under the Legislature-Parliament today, Culture Minister Deepak Chandra Amatya said 20 people including 14 foreigners and six Nepalis died in the blizzard.
Minister Amatya further said a total of 384 tourists including 216 foreigners were rescued so far.
He said Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force have been mobilized to carry out rescue operation and medical treatment of those injured with the support of the Home Ministry and Trekking Agents Association of Nepal.
Helicopters were also used to rescue the trapped trekkers in the incident that took place on October 15.
The Culture Minister further said that an Emergency Control Centre has been set up under the coordination of Joint-Secretary at the Ministry, Suresh Acharya, and Director at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Narendra Bahadur Thapa, Major of Nepal Army Sanjeev Silwal, Superintendent of Police at Nepal Police, Ajay Bhattarai, among others.
Minister Amatya said the incident showed that the trekking routes and trekking locations need to be made safer in the future.
He also said the Ministry has taken initiation to maintain a record of mountaineers, to make the information system more systematic, carry out insurance of the trekkers, constructing shelters along the trekking routes, among others.
Earlier, lawmakers in the Committee expressed their dissatisfaction over government’s negligence in rescue operation after the disaster and not becoming proactive to forecast about the weather conditions.