Sunday, 09 August 2015 11:10
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Image Everest region safe for trekking : Report


Kathmandu: Nepal government has urged trekkers around the world to visit Nepal and trek two most popular trekking routes- Everest and Annapurna region.

According to a government-commissioned report released on August 7, there was ‘minimal damage’ to the majority of accommodation and trails in the Everest region, in Nepal’s northeast.

It noted that some minor hazards were identified by a team of specialist geotechnic and structural engineers from Miyamoto International and mountain guides, who made an initial rapid reconnaissance assessment of the main trekking routes and select villages ahead of the monsoon season.

Recommendations in the report include rerouting a section of the Everest trail, as well as relocating buildings in the villages of Tok Tok and Benkar to the opposite side of the river in order to reduce risks in the region to tourists and to locals.

The report also recommends a follow up engineering assessment after the monsoon.

Despite some problems identified in the report, tourism industry professionals and government officials have welcomed the information in this assessment, which provides a baseline to improve infrastructure in the region.

According to Director General of Department of Tourism, the aim of the report was to develop an initial understanding of the extent of the damage from the earthquakes so that the government could assess the overall safety of the Everest region’s trekking routes before the season starts in September.

Last month, the government released an engineering report on the Annapurna region which identified ‘very little damage to the area in north-central Nepal, with the 3% of buildings damaged in the quake all ‘easily repairable’.

The assessments are believed to be the first ever completed by international earthquake engineering specialists on trekking routes in Nepal and identify potential hazards in the mountain area not associated with the April and May earthquakes, enabling locals and trekking companies to reduce risks by adjusting itineraries and relocating accommodation to safer areas.

Other opportunities to improve long-term safety in the trekking regions identified in the report include improved signage of natural hazards, and providing engineering advice to accommodation owners rebuilding structures on the trail.

“The report provides a series of recommendations that will inform tourism recovery and commercial readiness strategies that are currently being developed by the government, its international development partners, and Nepal’s tourism industry at large” says Mr. Suresh Man Shrestha, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

 According to a statement released by NTPC / NTB , 15 villages with 710 buildings and nine major bridges were assessed, with no signs of damage as a result of the earthquake.

Many of the villages on the Everest trail are not affected by the earthquake of April 25 and May 12, 2015.The assessment of the Everest region identified that damage in the lower valley (below Namche) is significantly greater than in the upper valley.

Aug. 7, 2015

Published in Nepal News

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