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Nepal Tightens Rules Following Hiking Disaster

  • VOA News

Israeli trekkers Maya Ora (R) along with Yakov Megreli (C) and Linor Kajan (L), who were rescued from an avalanche by the Nepalese army, speak with the media while undergoing treatment at the Army Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, Oct. 16, 2014.

Israeli trekkers Maya Ora (R) along with Yakov Megreli (C) and Linor Kajan (L), who were rescued from an avalanche by the Nepalese army, speak with the media while undergoing treatment at the Army Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, Oct. 16, 2014.

The Nepalese government says it will introduce new rules in an effort to reform the country's trekking industry after dozens were killed in a deadly Himalayan snowstorm last week.

Tourism official Tulasi Gautam said hikers will be required to use GPS monitoring devices and take trained local guides.

"There are GPS [global positioning system] devices available now that could tell where the trekkers were, even if only one person in the group has one," said Gautam. "We are working with agencies to invest in equipment that trekkers can rent and then return after their trip, so we can help them when needed."

Gautam said authorities also will enforce new rules of no trekking without porters or trained guides, blaming the high number of casualties on trekkers without proper guides deciding to continue with their hikes in an attempt to beat the storm.

At least 41 trekkers, guides and porters were killed last week when a blizzard and avalanches swept through the mountains of the Annapurna region of Nepal. The victims included 21 foreign trekkers hailing from India, Israel, Canada, Poland, Slovakia, China and Japan. The 20 others were guides, porters and villagers from Nepal.

Since the storm hit, authorities say 519 trekkers, including 310 foreigners and 208 Nepalis, have been rescued and flown to safe areas.



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