Nearly four months after the lives of 16 Sherpa guides were snuffed out in an avalanche on Everest, the Nepal government has decided to increase insurance cover for mountaineering support staff and guides.
The April 18 avalanche, the biggest disaster in the mountain’s climbing history, had closed this year’s spring climbing season on the world’s highest peak and led to demands for better compensation and working conditions.
“The government has decided to increase life insurance cover for Sherpa guides and support staff on expeditions from the existing NRs 1 million to NRs 1.5 million,” said spokesperson for tourism ministry Madan Krishna Sapkota. It was also decided to increase the health insurance cover from the existing NRs 300,000 to NRs 400,000. The tragedy had brought focus on the dangers undertaken by Sherpa guides and support staff on Himalayan peaks in Nepal and the low remunerations they get in comparison to foreign guides.
The Nepal government’s decision to hand out just NRs 40,000 to the families of the deceased had led to protests forcing the government to increase the compensation amount to NRs 500,000.
“It’s a positive development. We hope it will get further increased in future considering the hardships faced by the Sherpas,” said Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association.