Nepali youth on Everest expedition missing after quake hit

Anis Luitel at the Mt Everest base camp
Anis Luitel, a 23-year-old youth, who is the first person from Jhapa district in Nepal to go on an expedition to Mount Everest, has been missing since yesterday when the earthquake hit the country.

The youth hails from Dhulabari, a hamlet in Jhapa district in eastern Nepal, around 50km from Siliguri. He left home on March 20 for the expedition to Mount Everest, also known as Sagarmatha in Nepali.

The youth's father Shiva Prasad, is the headmaster in a school in Chandragadhi, in Jhapa. "I am confident that my son will be back home safely. We have spoken to the district administration to see that he can be located," said the concerned father over phone.

The youth's favourite quote, as he mentioned on his Facebook account, is: "If you'll go forward you'll die, if you'll go backward you'll die. So it is better to go forward and die."

"We all wished him luck and arranged funds for him. He is the first resident from Jhapa to participate in a Mount Everest expedition. People across the district and also in the neighbouring districts of Nepal like Illam and Taplejung had appreciated his effort and generously contributed for his expedition," said Mohan Kazi, the secretary of Anis Sagarmatha Arohan Sahayak Samiti which collected funds for the youth's expedition.

Anis had sent a text to Mohan on Thursday.

"In the text, he had mentioned that he was on his way to camp-II from camp-I. He was supposed to take rest for four-five days and would then make the summit. However, after yesterday's earthquake, we could not make any contact with him. We have also contacted the private agency in Kathmandu, which had arranged the expedition. But, they are clueless," said Kazi.

"Since the commencement of the expedition, it was me with whom Anis was keeping regular contact. He had made phone calls to me and sent text messages. But for the past 24 hours we are concerned as we could not contact him. The entire Jhapa district is praying for his well being."

After yesterday's tremors, it has been learnt that the base camp of Mount Everest and the route leading to camp II, have been damaged in an avalanche.

"If he has made it to camp II, there are chances that he might be safe. We are also in touch with the local administration and have urged them to speak to the government and initiate the exercise to find him and the other members of his team," said Kazi .

Anis is also a member of Nepal Scouts and has studied in Boston University at Massachusetts. He is known to be adventurous.

"Anis had successfully summated Imja Tse, also known as Island Peak, in Eastern Nepal. This is his second expedition and first expedition to Mount Everest," said Parbat Biswakarma, an acquaintance .

"Everybody knows about his expedition as he needed around Rs 26 lakh for it . Anis could manage to arrange Rs 9 lakh. The remaining was collected as donations from people. Residents of Jhapa wanted to have an Everester in their district and wanted him to return with success," he added.

Tez Prasad Poudel, the chief district officer of Jhapa, said they are in contact with officials in Kathmandu.

"We are aware that Anis Luitel cannot be contacted since yesterday. He is indeed the first youth from the entire Jhapa district to go on an expedition to Mount Everest. We have spoken to our officials in Kathmandu and are trying to locate him," said Poudel .

The Telegraph.

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