Should the Nepalese government provide adequate insurance for the Mount Everest Sherpas?
By: Ringo Bones
Given that it was the tragic April 18, 2014 avalanche that shed light that probably all Mont Everest Sherpas are uninsured, the rest of the world now wonders why the Nepalese government has failed to provide adequate insurance to the Sherpas that assist foreign mountain climbers climb the world’s highest mountain. After all, Nepal earns millions of dollars in annual climbing fees from Everest alone. For the 2014 season, the Nepalese government had issued climbing permits to 734 people including 400 guides for 32 expeditions. The world has now been speculating whether the millions paid in climbing permits had been simply pocketed by Nepal’s political elites – rather than being set aside as an insurance / compensation fund for Sherpas.
Immediately after the tragic April 18, 2014 avalanche, the Nepalese government offered US$400 to each of the 13 victims’ families as a way to pay off “funeral costs.” Unsurprisingly, none had been pleased by the government’s offer.
The average annual income in Nepal is around US$700 – while a Sherpa working for a typical 3-month season earns US$4,000. Despite earning more than the average Nepalese, being a Sherpa is a hazardous profession – a lot can happen to one hauling gear up a mountain for international climbers waiting at the Everest Base Camp.
Mingna Sherpa said in an interview:”We love the mountains…but a mountaineer could climb in peace if he knew that his family will be taken cared of if something bad happens to him.” Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Prakash Man Singh said the government has been working to help the Sherpas, but unless the Nepalese government establish an effective social security for the Sherpas, international climbers could be put-off climbing Mount Everest via the Nepalese side because the government has scant social responsibility due to its inability to provide a well-underwritten insurance policies for the Everest Sherpas.