05/14/2015, 00.00
NEPAL
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Nepal cancels all Everest expeditions for 2015

by Christopher Sharma
The government's decision after the "Great Earthquake" made paths dangerous. 27 climbers have died in avalanches triggered by the earthquake, but hundreds are still buried under the snow. The heroism of Catholic and non-Catholic students at Jesuit college of St. Xavier, in Langtang to rescue survivors.

Kathamndu (AsiaNews) - All Everest expeditions for 2015 were canceled after avalanches triggered by the "Great Earthquake" killed 27 climbers from around the world and wounded many others, including many Nepalese Sherpas.

The Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), responsible for organizing the climbing routes on the mountain, has officially confirmed the move. According to local authorities hundreds of foreign tourists are still missing, probably buried under the snow.

Two days ago a team of Icefall Doctors and SPCC president, Ang Dorjee Sherpa, examined the situation at the base camp of Everest and the Khumbu glacier. After an investigation they suggested to the Ministry of Tourism and other concerned agencies to stop expiditions until at least the end of this year.

Already in 2014, the climbing season was canceled after the death of 16 Nepalese Sherpas overwhelmed by an avalanche. The disaster has forced the guides to boycott expeditions and go on strike, demanding greater controls and safeguards.

Everest is a major tourist attraction for Nepal: this year alone the government earned 375 million rupees (over 3.2 million Euros) and issued permission to 340 foreigners and 18 Nepalese.

Langtang, settlement which is located on the mountain, was completely damaged by avalanches triggered by the quake. Nepalese army spokesman Jagadish Pokhrel said: "We have just completed the recovery of the survivors of Langtang by air. Thanks to the helicopters from China and India we have transported people to the Buddhist monastery of Ale, in Kathmandu”.

Lindup Tamang, one of the survivors, said: "Only 160 people are still alive, we do not know how many are still buried under the snow, but there are at least 200 of us. The area was full of foreign and local tourists. All hotels were reduced to rubble, scores of animals and humans many have turned the entire village into a graveyard. "

Young Christians and Jesuits are also active in the area. Fr. Bijaya Toppo, SJ, vice principal of St. Xavier College, explains: "We are all on the front line to help the victims. Dozens of our students Catholics and non-Catholics have volunteered to participate in the recovery and distribution of aid”.

Melun, Catholic student, explains: "We are reaching all the areas affected by the earthquake, because this is God's will for us. Some areas are very remote and very dilapidated, but the grace of God encourages us to move forward, reaching places where no one has yet managed to bring aid".

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