Biting Cold Disrupts Normal Life In Solu: Khumbu Area Deserted

RSS Nepal
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Most of the businessmen and locals of Khumbu, the main destination of Himalayan tourism, have left the area to ward off bone-chilling cold.

Hotel owners, who are busy during the tourist season, have also started coming out of Khumbu area to escape the winter.

According to local Damu Sherpa, around 70 percent of the businessmen and general public in the area have left Khumbu. Most of them go to Kathmandu and some pilgrimages to India's Buddhagaiya and other areas.

Toya Shrestha of Lukla said the Khumbu area has turned deserted with the exit of most of the businessmen and locals.

According to him, the airport, hotel/lodge, camping site and sight-seeing places of Khumbu, which used to be crowded with tourists, are now deserted during the tourist season.

Lamakaji Sherpa of Namche said that Namche, Gokyo, Kalapathar, Everest base camp and other places known as the gateway to Mt. Everest have also become deserted.

Although some hotels are open, the life of businessmen is becoming difficult. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) branch office Lukla, there are only five to six flights per day in Lukla, while there used to be more than 100 flights daily during the season.

Due to its geographical remoteness and high mountainous area, they can no longer stay in this area for even a moment in the winter months and they live only for six months a year, a local resident noted.

With the rise in cold, number of people spending time heating general fire in Salleri, the headquarters of the mountainous district Solukhumbu, has increased. From children to the elderly, people have started setting fire on the streets to avoid the cold. Dawa Sherpa of Salleri said that the cold has especially affected the elderly and children.

Nawaraj Parajuli of the Meteorological Centre, Salleri, said the temperature in Salleri has been steadily decreasing for the past one week. Salleri recorded a temperature of minus two degrees Celsius on Tuesday, he said. According to him, the temperature in the district is the lowest this year.

Life in the upper part of the district has been further affected by the cold. Angfurwa Sherpa, a local, said that the cold has troubled daily life in the mountainous areas of Namche, Lukla and Fakding. There has been a problem in water supply in Khumbu area of the district as water has frozen in the pipe due to cold. Drinking water supply has been affected in the Sagarmatha region with water pipes frozen due to extreme cold.

Nuru Sherpa, a local, said that the supply of drinking water has been stopped in various parts of Khumbu as the stagnant water did not melt even during the sun in the afternoon. He said, "In Khumbu, even the edible oil freezes and becomes like a lump, it melts in presence of the sun. The water stored inside the house does not melt throughout the day if there is no sun. The situation here is different from what you thought, how difficult it is, that is why most of the people left Khumbu, we are in a few villages."

According to locals, the temperature in the area has dropped to minus 17 degrees Celsius. The cold has affected development works as well as other daily activities, while the movement of people in the villages is decreasing.

Lhakpa Sherpa, a teacher at PK Secondary School, Loding, said that it was the compulsion of the people to spend time by heating the fire after the closure of the school premises. "It is difficult for the teachers as some are from the Terai. It is very difficult for them to stay here in the cold," he said.

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