Rescuing The Climbers of Everest

When people go to climb Mount Everest those people know that they will be risking their lives. they assume the risk for the thrill of climbing the world’s highest mountain, knowing that if something goes wrong their lives will be in great danger. Climbing Mount Everest has become a thrill seeking tourist attraction since Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tensing made the first recorded climb in 1953. When the earthquake struck Nepal recently there were a thousand people climbing the mountain in various stages.

For the people of Nepal Everest is a great tourist attraction. Nepal is a poor nation where people struggle to live in its harsh environment. When the earthquake struck there were at least ten thousand Nepalese who were died and as far as I can tell more than a quarter of its population were rendered homeless and lost their possessions. The scale of the disaster overwhelmed the government, as it would any government in similar circumstances.

The Western press, particularly the UK press initially concentrated its publicity on the rescue of the climbers; as far as I can tell one climber lost his life. The climbers were slowly rescued by helicopter. Because of the thin atmosphere a helicopter could only take off two or three climbers at a time.

So we see the wealthy risk takers climbing Everest were rescued by helicopters, which helicopters could have been better employed by rescuing Nepalese who were not assuming the risk and getting the thrill of climbing Everest, but were simply living their everyday rather modest lives when the disaster struck. I have yet to hear that any climbers said, according to the tradition of the Birkenhead Drill  “rescue the women and children in other parts of Nepal first”. It is a testament to modern selfishness.

One Response

  1. Whilst I understand your point it seems to me that the few risk taking climbers knew what they were doing and planned accordingly. The people of Nepal also knew very well that an earthquake was overdue. The last one being in 1934. However, they continued to ignore the risk.

    The substantial number of deaths in Nepal, as in other earthquakes, resulted from crumbling buildings.

    Clearly, the Nepalese government could have prepared better by ensuring seismic resistant new constructions. Such construction is not new to Nepal. I understand that the main temple in Kathmandu remained standing (after 1500) years simply because it was designed to accommodate seismic movement.

    For no cost at all, the Nepalese people could have prepared better by organising/ensuring rapid/emergency access to ‘open space’ away from buildings in towns and villages.

    The tragedy is that for little or no cost the number of deaths could have been drastically reduced had the Nepalese people and government faced up to the risk instead of praying it would not happen.

    In those circumstances it seems a little unfair to criticise a few climbers. They weren’t all rich kids on holiday!

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