How Nepal's Quake Hurts Sherpas

Everest guides will lose chunk of wages
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2015 9:28 AM CDT
How Nepal's Quake Hurts Sherpas
In this May 16, 2013, file photo, Nepalese Sherpas rest as they climb Mount Everest.   (AP Photo/ Pasang Geljen Sherpa, File)

Yet another casualty of Nepal's disastrous earthquake: lost wages for Sherpas. The locals who help hundreds scale Mount Everest each year will lose out on some of the $5,000 to $7,000 plus tips they typically earn from March to June since "Everest is basically closed," as the AP puts it. While some have signed contracts and will still be paid, they'll miss out on bonuses that could go a long way toward rebuilding their homes. "Financially, this is simply devastating," says the head of a climbing company. The country's annual per capita income is about $730. Nepal could also take a hit as climbing permits, at about $11,000 per person, help drive the economy. More:

  • The death toll in the quake is climbing daily and has now reached 6,204, with 13,924 injured, per Reuters. Nepal's government says it will give $1,000 to the families of victims, plus $400 for cremation or burial.
  • The head of the EU delegation in Nepal had a big number for reporters: 1,000. That's how many Europeans are missing, per Ambassador Rensje Teerink, though Nepal's home ministry counters that it's the first it's heard of that number. (Reuters confirmed 221 are missing from France, Spain, and Italy.)
  • Officials say the smell of rotting flesh is becoming overpowering. "Morgues are full beyond capacity and we have been given instruction to incinerate bodies immediately after they are pulled out," an official says.
  • Nepal's finance minister estimates at least $2 billion is needed to rebuild the 600,000 damaged or destroyed homes, plus hospitals, government offices, and historic buildings. Some 2 million will need tents and a supply of food, water, and medicine for the next three months.
(More Nepal stories.)

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