Hinterland Green

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nepalese Government To Hold Highest Cabinet Meeting Near Mount Everest

A group of ministers from Nepal have reached the Mount Everest region for a cabinet meeting being billed as the highest ever, a stunt meant to highlight the threat global warming poses to the Himalayan glaciers. The meeting comes ahead of the international climate change conference slated to commence next week in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Nepalese meeting is meant to draw attention to the effects climate change is having on the region surrounding the world's highest peak.

The 23 ministers flew to the airstrip in Lukla, a town at an elevation of 9,180-feet (2,800 meters) that is considered the gateway to the Mount Everest region. They were to stay overnight before flying by helicopter to Kalapathar for Friday's meeting at an altitude of 17,192 feet (5,250 meters). Scientists say the Himalayas' glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, creating lakes whose walls could burst and flood villages below. Melting ice and snow also make the routes for mountaineers less stable and more difficult to follow.

Due to the high altitude and risks involved, Friday's mountainside meeting will be brief, with the ministers soon flown down to the town of Syangboche, at a safer 12,800 feet (3,900 meters). Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal was scheduled to attend the meeting. Rescue helicopters and doctors have been positioned at Lukla, Syangboche and at the meeting venue, according to the Himalayan Rescue Association.
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