Unusual rains accompanied by snowstorm which swept through western Nepal, have reportedly killed at least 21 people, including 12 foreigners, and left scores missing. Eighteen have been rescued from different incident sites in Manang and Mustang districts on Wednesday.
The Home Ministry has, however, put the number of deaths at 11.
Three persons, believed to be local yak herders were found dead in Nar-4 village in Manang on Tuesday. With this, the snow blizzard toll reaches 24 in the past two days.
A team of security personnel recovered 16 bodies, including that of seven foreigners, from Dump Camp located at an altitude of around 5,000 metres along the famous Annapurna Circuit, after passing Thorong La (5,416 metres above sea level) and Muktinath in Mustang district on Wednesday afternoon. According to Chief District Officer of Mustang, Baburam Bhandari, the trekkers are believed to have been trapped under the heavy rains accompanied by snowstorm that lashed the region since Monday evening. Among the 16 bodies recovered from Mustang, three are of Polish nationals, three Israelis and one Vietnamese but their identities are yet to be ascertained. The remaining bodies belong to Nepali citizens. “The snow blizzard is likely to have happened on Tuesday morning,” Bhandari said, adding that the district authority along with the security forces was only informed late on Tuesday.
In another incident, the bodies of five foreign trekkers—four Canadians and an Indian—were recovered from Mamlang in Nar Phu village on Wednesday. The trekkers had gone missing since Tuesday, according to DSP Rajendra Babu Regmi.
The period between October and November is considered the peak tourist season in Manang and Mustang. “We are issuing entry permit for 280-300 people daily these days,” said Junu Kumari Gurung, a staff based at Dharapani in Manang under the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACAP) that administers the tourist flow in the region. On Sunday, a total of 356 people including trekkers and their associates had reached Manang on their way to Muktinath in Mustang after passing the Thorong La. However, only 244 people have made it to Muktinath so far, said Bidur Kuinkel, chief at Mustang section of ACAP.