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Aug 15, 2015

Nepal opens trekking on Mt Everest in September; 4 sections damaged

Mount Everest will be open to trekkers from September, the Nepal government announced on Friday, though a report it commissioned found that four sections of the route to the world's highest summit were damaged by the devastating temblor in April.

The Everest base camp, which attracts tourists from around the world, was slightly damaged by the earthquake and it will be opened for visitors after a minor repair of a few trekking trails, tourism department officials said.

The announcement came as Minister for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa released here a report on Damage Assessment of Everest Main Trekking Routes.

California-based engineering firm Miyamoto International, which conducted the survey funded by the World Bank, said 15 villages were assessed and nearly 20 per cent were found to be damaged by the earthquake.

"The majority of accommodation structures and trails have sustained minimal damage," Miyamoto said.

It said 120 buildings, or 17 per cent, were damaged by the earthquake which killed some 9,000 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of houses on the route. Green, Yellow and Red stickers were allocated to various structures on the basis of the extent of damage.

Out of five trekking trails that were damaged, four can be avoided, the team said.

Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Suresh Man Shrestha said Nepal government would begin the reconstruction when the monsoon ends in September.

"We are even ready to welcome trekkers from now onwards, but the only thing is they must be accompanied by experienced guides," he said.

The government has allocated Rs 100 million for repairing the trekking trails in popular tourist spots.

Nepal earns millions of dollars every year from trekking permits and mountaineering expeditions. Nepal's tourist industry contributes about 4 per cent to its economy.

More than 130,000 trekkers and climbers visit the Annapurna and Everest regions every year. The government has already assessed the damage in Annapurna region, and found it to be safe.A popular Tamang Heritage Trail in the Langtang region has already been open for trekkers
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