Mount Everest Shut Down After Avalanche Kills 16By: Zach Walton - April 28, 2014
Mount Everest is one of the most dangerous locations on earth where many people die every year. Things came to a head earlier this month when a massive avalanche ripped through the Sherpas carrying supplies up the mountain leaving 16 people dead and three others wounded. In response, the infamous mountain has been shut down.
After the shut down, sherpas began to demand better death and injury benefits from the government. Until those demands are met, most sherpas will not be leading tours or carrying supplies up the mountain. The strike has effectively canceled many planned climbs for the season. If the strike goes on for too long, it would have a negative effect on the climbing industry that puts millions into Nepal’s coffers.
The Nepalese government won’t be the ones hardest hit by the shut down though. The sherpas themselves claim to be the ones hardest hit with many taking on the dangerous job to provide for their families. Many sherpas are the sole workers in their families and a canceled climbing season would drown many families in poverty.
To make matters worse, sherpas are the only ones who can do the jobs they do. The Nepalese government relies on sherpas to lead climbers up the mountain who then pump money into the economy. The relationship was detailed in a video from a years back that shows how important sherpas are to those who want to conquer Mount Everest:
Despite being so important to the country’s economy, the sherpas believe it isn’t doing enough for them. The AFP says that the country provides $10,000 in life insurance to sherpas as well as $3,000 in medical coverage. The sherpas say that this isn’t anywhere near enough as the $3,000 doesn’t even cover an airlift off the mountain in the event of injury. After the accident, the government offered the families of sherpas $400 to cover funeral expenses. The families rejected this offer and continue to lobby the government for more money.
If you want to help the Sherpas out, climbers have set up a donation page for those wanting to send a little money their way. You can find it here. After losing a loved one, it would be even worse if the family lost everything else.
Image via Thinkstock