The article about local charity efforts to raise funds to benefit the families of 16 Sherpas killed in an Everest climbing accident exposes troubling attitudes about the value of Nepali lives [“Many here work to help families of Sherpas killed on Everest,” Local News, April 24].
Currently, the mandatory life insurance payout for each Sherpa killed while working for for-profit expeditions on the mountain is $11,000. One person quoted in the article who is raising charity funds said that amount should be raised to $22,000, stating, “It’s a really complicated situation.”
I don’t think it’s so complicated.
The Everest expeditions are for-profit recreational ventures run for high-income people from other countries. Each Sherpa guide earns about $5,000 per year. Once they’ve been killed by their job, their families lose that $5,000 per year.
Let’s assume, to make up for that ridiculous disregard of a dad’s other economic value to the family as well as the incalculable emotional loss, that each guide would have a 30 year work-earnings span. The insurance payout when the is killed on the mountain should be at least $150,000. If the recreational ventures that operate on Everest can’t afford to provide proper minimal life insurance for the human beings they employ, they should shut down.
That’s not too complicated, is it?
Kelly Owen, Bellingham