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Since the present executive board of the Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal (HRA) was elected in September 2011, our first task was to seek funds to reinstall battery at our Pheriche Aid Post. The battery was installed along with medical equipments and refurbishing work done about 12 years ago with the help of the Everest Memorial Trust, UK. The head of the trust Dr. Sandy Scott single handedly upgraded the facilities at the aid post. Now, it has become our responsibility to maintain the set-up which requires a huge fund to replace the battery. With the assistance of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) and the support from the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), we have reinstalled the battery and made it ready for our spring volunteer doctors to use.
In the meantime, we also received a grant assistance from the Australian Embassy based in Kathmandu to renovate the aid post at Manang which was repaired about 13 years ago with the assistance of the British Embassy. We will be completing this task in July 2012, as this will be the appropriate months in the mountain region to carry out the construction work.
In December 20111, I have initiated a plan to introduce a GPS technology as a system that could help us do search and rescue work in the mountain region. This would be beneficial for trekkers and climbers. Introduction of the technology required a broad-based support from the tourism sector, especially the MoTCA, NMA and Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). In the initial phase, we have asked for support from MoTCA as it is our line ministry. This technology would be equally beneficial to the ministry as well. The Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal (HRA) would be the appropriate implementing agency, which could support the government and the vice versa. At this point, it is in its initial phase. Hopefully, we can have a trail run during this spring expedition season.
I have also initiated the plan to set up a ‘Radio Station’ that would take our ‘High Altitude Lecture’ to the next level. The initial work requires talking to various people involved in running the FM stations, including the chief of the Nepal Radio. Though the FM Station has a limited range, its network can be helpful in transmitting our programme related to education about high altitude sickness and general medical problems that occur while trekking in the mountain region. Since most of the Nepalese trekking staffs have mobile phones with a radio, it can be useful medium of communication. It can be useful to send the information and notice for the benefit of tourists when any emergency situation occurs. This medium of communication can be useful to give information on the environment, weather, talk on sustainable tourism, crash course on hospitability training, tourism information etc. While meeting our objectives, it benefits tourism industry at the end . So, I feel that with the technical support from Radio Nepal and private studio for production of the programme, this plan can materialize by end of next year. The key is to garner support from our main stream trade associations to work together as a consortium to finance this project.
Now our immediate task is to get cooperation from respective trekking companies and international expedition operators to help us continue to operate medical services at the base camp of Mt. Everest. Ever since the emergency rescue service was established, Dr. Luanne Freer has been continuously supporting the clinic. Time has come for all to support the EBC Clinic by raising US$100 as a Medical consultation Registration fee from each of the climbers passing through the Everest Base Camp. This fee includes unlimited consultancy for the member and Nepalese staffs at the base camp. This is the only medical service being available at 5,300 m. above sea level anywhere in the world that has been operating such a medical clinic at this elevation. Because of this facility, expedition teams do not require bringing their medical doctors, equipment and medicines. In the ling-run, this service will be in the interest of mountaineers.
On the occasion of Nepali New Year 2069 B.S., I would like to extend our hearty greetings to all our members and readers. On behalf of all the members of HRA, I would like to thank the Government of Nepal, foreign diplomatic missions based in Kathmandu, NMA, TAAN, NTB and all other tourism related organizations or their constant support, inspiration and valuable cooperation to the cause of saving the lives of people and our commitment to making the mountains of Nepal safer to enjoy.