THT 10 years ago: Winter here, banking on heaters could be fatal

Kathmandu, December 7, 2007

Winter is already here. Urban people use different appliances to keep themselves warm. Burning charcoal or using gas or kerosene heaters is common in the cities. Using such heaters may be easy but all people may not be aware of the risks associated with them. If cautions are not taken, they can poison our rooms and, at times, turn fatal as they emit dangerous gas called Carbon monoxide (CO).

CO is a toxic gas, which cannot be seen or smelled, and it can kill a person within minutes if its concentration exceeds a certain limit. CO is generated whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burnt. “When the CO is inhaled, it takes the place of oxygen in hemoglobin in the blood thereby lading to an oxygen deficiency in the body,” said Dr Dirgha Singh Bam, chief at the Medical Division at the Ministry of Health.

Symptoms of mild CO poisoning include headaches, vertigo and flu-like effects, while larger exposures can lead to significant toxicity, sometimes death, Dr Bam said. “Headache, dizziness, fatigue, confusion and bronchitis are some preliminary symptoms of CO poisoning.” Records available at the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range say that ten persons were died of CO poisoning in Kathmandu during the last winter. SP Sarbendra Khanal said the number of unreported cases might be higher as not all cases are reported to the police.

Swiss journalists pay ‘donation’ to Maoists

Kathmandu, December 7, 2007

A group of Swiss journalists, who have been in the mountains of Annapurna region for a week to write about the tourism potential in their respective newspapers, were forced to pay “donations” by Maoists on Tuesday at Birenthati of Kaski. “We were harassed by the Maoist activists and eventually had to pay Rs 2000. We argued that the leaders had said that there would be no extortion but they did not let us pass,” said Lorenz Kummer, the foreign editor of Der Bund, the Swiss Daily. Talking to journalists here, he said that a group of young people, who presented themselves as Maoist activists, asked for Rs 200 from each one of them and eventually accepted Rs 2000 from the group of 11 tourists. “They did not y attack us but we had a very bad time and an altercation with suspicious people,” he said, adding that they agreed to pay the sum as they were told that the local porters would be in trouble in future if they pass the post without paying the donation. The group received a receipt of United Revolutionary People’s Council, Nepal, written in English, which was signed by Amar Tamu, convener of Tamuwan State Committee, URPC, Nepal. It has a serial number 7562 and shows the date , 4/12/07.