Friday, December 10, 2010

US Embassy Nepal: Is this an ACS job for you?

Via OIG Report No. ISP-I-11-05A -Inspection of Embassy Kathmandu, Nepal - November 2010

It can be extremely challenging for the embassy to assist American citizens in Nepal. Thousands of American citizens visit Nepal each year, often to trek in the Himalaya Mountains. While the vast majority of such trekkers do not experience any serious problems, a small number do. Nepal has very few roads, especially in the mountains where most tourists go. Trekkers often can be days, if not weeks, away from the nearest road. If an American is injured or becomes seriously ill on such a trail, the embassy may need to arrange for a helicopter to fly them to Kathmandu for hospitalization. If an American is missing, it is a huge logistical challenge to organize search teams. Mountain climbing accidents, in which an American is either injured or killed, are also extremely difficult for the embassy to manage, in terms of communications and transportation. In cases involving the deaths of American citizens, the embassy often handles all arrangements for shipping the remains to the United States. Since Nepal is primarily a Hindu country and most people are cremated when they die, funeral homes do not exist in the country. Embassy Kathmandu is the only U.S. embassy in the world that has cold storage facilities for human remains.
Full report is here.

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