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Work procedure on tourist search, rescue, medical treatment and monitoring enforced

Kathmandu, Sep 04: The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has enforced the Work Procedure on Search, Rescue, Medical Treatment and Monitoring of Tourists, 2018.

The work procedure is implemented with the goal of making the search and rescue of tourists in case of natural disaster decent and systematic.

Ministry’s joint spokesman Prakash Sharma Dhakal said the work procedure has been implemented with the objective of making the works related to search, rescue and treatment of tourists prompt, easy and smooth whenever disaster hits the tourists in course of trekking, river rafting, mountaineering and other adventure tourism activities. The goal is also to lessen the impact of such disasters as far as possible.

The work procedure requires that the tourism agency concerned has to immediately carry out the search and rescue if any tourist or their assistant workers are lost or go missing after hit by natural disasters or any other causes in course of adventure tourism activities. It is also the responsibility of the agency and the tourist guide concerned to take and bring back the tourist to the destination in a safe manner.

It stipulates that it would also be the responsibility of the agency concerned to conduct and have other related bodies conduct the search and rescue works taking the help of experts, other organisations, agencies and speedy means like airlines and helicopters in case the on-site search and rescue of tourist caught up in disaster is not possible and a separate search and rescue is needed.

If the agency itself cannot carry out the search and rescue operation, it should notify the Tourist Police and the Department of Tourism at the earliest along with the name, nationality, passport number and other details of the tourist caught up in disaster.

Similarly, the tourism agency concerned is required to take appropriate measures for reducing the risk by assessing the possibility of accidents or risks that might take place in course of the adventure tourism activities. It is also stated in the work procedure that the agency should make arrangements for first aid kit and wholesome food and potable water as well as suitable accommodation keeping in view the convenience of the tourists.

The work procedure also has the provision, according to which, primary health care and treatment should be provided to the tourist, the sirdar, trekking guide or the work assistant as per the need after the search and rescue. They should be taken to the nearest hospital or health institution which is well-equipped and has sound facilities in case advanced treatment was necessary.

The work procedure states that a Tourist Search and Rescue Steering Committee would be formed with the participation of the stakeholder organisations for monitoring the effectiveness of the search, rescue and treatment of the disaster-hit tourists. The Committee would be coordinated by the Director General of the Department of Tourism. The committee shall facilitate the government bodies, airlines or helicopter companies, agencies, hospitals and related individuals and organisations regarding the search, rescue and treatment.

Likewise, the Committee shall determine the maximum ceiling of the fare of airlines or helicopter rescue flight on the basis of the flight duration, distance and altitude, coordinating with the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, the Airlines Operators’ Association of Nepal, insurance companies and the agencies and organisations concerned.
The work procedure also has a provision which bars any of the agents of foreign insurance companies based in Nepal from involving in any activities related to search, rescue and treatment of tourists caught up in disaster.

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