Kathmandu, March 25
Around 500 trekkers have been stuck on several trekking trails across the country due to the lockdown.
Trekkers have been unable to return from their treks due to the lockdown imposed by the Nepal government to curb coronavirus transmission in the country as three positive cases have been confirmed so far.
According to Shradha Shrestha, brand manager of Nepal Tourism Board, there are around 150 trekkers in Jomsom, around 250 in Lukla, eight in Langtang, seven in Sankhuwasabha, along with 100 more on trekking trails of Manaslu and Solu. “We are now compiling the exact data of stranded trekkers on different trails,” she said. “We are trying to bring them to safe places in coordination with local governments and Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal.”
She added that the NTB had requested local governments of the concerned areas to arrange transportation passes to rescue and bring trekkers to the city.
“We have also requested the Ministry of Home Affairs to allow us to operate choppers to rescue trekkers who were in remote areas that do not have road connection,” she said, adding, “However, we have not received any response from the ministry yet.”
She added that all the national parks had been urged to check if there were any trekkers stranded in their areas and to arrange food and accommodation for them till they were shifted to safe areas.
According to Sudhan Subedi, an official of NTB, most of the stranded trekkers are individual trekkers.
“Most of them are individual trekkers and for their safety and rescue we have also coordinated with the related embassies,” he said, adding, “The embassies are also trying to coordinate with the government to send their nationals back to their home countries.”
NTB has developed a website, strandedinnepal.com, through which stranded trekkers can contact the authorities concerned, Subedi added.
Meanwhile, the British Embassy issued a notice yesterday requesting British nationals in Nepal to come in contact. The embassy has requested stranded Britons to send their name, passport number, e-mail address and phone number.
On March 20, TAAN had issued a directive to all the trekking agencies to halt their trekking activities immediately and return to Kathmandu as soon as possible, said Sarita Lama, general secretary of TAAN.
“In view of the worsening situation, we had requested all the trekking agencies to halt their activities and make arrangements for their guests to go back to their home countries,” she said. “Because of their dilly-dallying, we are in this predicament now.”
In coordination with Annapurna Rural Municipality, trekkers stranded on the Annapurna circuit are being transported to Ghandruk.
“Hopefully all the trekkers in Annapurna circuit will be rescued and will reach Ghandruk by Thursday evening,” she said, adding, “The rural municipality will take care of their food and accommodation.”
Lama added that in coordination with Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality, efforts were being made to bring the trekkers stranded in Solu areas to the nearest city area.
All domestic flights and vehicular movement have been halted since the nationwide lockdown came into effect yesterday.
Hence, along with the trekkers, a number of tourists in the Kathmandu valley and other areas have also been stranded.
A version of this article appears in print on March 26, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.
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