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Nepal promises major climbing reforms after killer avalanche

Posted on Apr 21 2014 | IANS

Kathmandu, April 21 : Three days after a deadly avalanche on the Mt Everest slopes claimed 13 lives, the Nepalese government Monday promised major reforms in the mountaineering sector and urged local Sherpa guides and other supporting staff to resume preparatory work ahead of the summer climbing season.

"The government is ready to undertake major reforms in the mountaineering sector," Xinhua reported the ministry of tourism and civil aviation as saying.

An avalanche at an elevation of nearly 5,900 metres Friday killed at least 13 Sherpas while three others remain still missing. According to local officials, this is the single worst accident in record to hit climbers of the highest peak in the world.

The soaring Himalayas are a high-value destination for climbers all over the world. Nepal has eight of the world's 14 peaks over 8,000-metres-tall and they attract hundreds of mountaineering enthusiasts.

More than 300 climbers were currently at the mountain's base camp after having obtained permission from the Nepalese government to scale the 29,028-foot-high peak this season.

"We have given high priority to make it safer and attractive in the coming days," the ministry said in a statement.

Sherpa guides have demanded that the government increase their insurance amount and provide education facilities to the children of those who have lost their lives in the accident.

Sherpas are an ethnic group from the most mountainous region of Nepal, high in the Himalayas. They are skilled mountaineers and are known to be experts in their local terrain. Sherpas serve as guides to climbers and are hired for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas.

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