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Nepal Travel Advice - September 2004

NEPAL TRAVEL ADVICE Consular Division Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND


This travel advice has been reissued.

We reiterate New Zealanders should defer tourist and non-essential travel given the ongoing security situation in Nepal.

There has been a significant increase by Maoists in the targeting of public places and tourist areas, most recently evidenced in the blockade of Kathmandu and threats against hotels and companies in the capital.

There is continuing widespread political activity against the government. Public demonstrations across Nepal by Maoists, various political parties and students occur, often at very short notice, and frequently end in violence.

Maoist rebels are present in all districts in Nepal and the potential for further violence remains high. The unsettled political situation has meant that the frequency and level of protest action (by both Maoist and other political groups) has increased. Strikes (called bandhs) and demonstrations are now occurring with increasing regularity, particularly in Kathmandu, and sometimes turns to violence.

In March 2004 there was a large-scale Maoist attack on Beni resulting in significant loss of life. Beni is an alternative route to the Annapurna trekking circuit and should be avoided. Recent attacks on hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara confirm the Maoists’ strategy to continue targeting public places and the tourist industry infrastructure. Road travel is becoming increasingly unsafe because of attacks on buses and the increasing use of landmines.

In Kathmandu this week violent protests have occurred following the execution of Nepalese hostages in Iraq. Assassination attempts on Nepalese government officials and indiscriminate bombings have resulted in the death and injury of civilians. The situation remains unpredictable and further bombings cannot be ruled out. Curfews may be declared at short notice in the Kathmandu Valley, other towns and districts in the country. They are strictly enforced and security forces are under instructions to shoot on sight anyone breaking the curfew. New Zealanders should check with their hotel/guesthouse for details of curfews.

There have been occasions when Maoists have approached trekkers demanding money. Many trekking routes have been seriously affected by Maoist insurgency. Some routes are no longer safe for trekking. Travel and trekking alone and at night should not be undertaken.

Some western governments and the US government have advised their citizens to defer non-essential travel to Nepal.

New Zealanders who, notwithstanding the above advice, go to Nepal should remain vigilant, maintain a very high level of personal security awareness at all times, and avoid large gatherings and demonstrations.

It is advisable to depart Kathmandu for India by air – we recommend against travelling overland from Kathmandu to India. Travellers are advised to check status of road to airport and also with airline offices concerning flights that could be disrupted.

New Zealanders travelling or resident in Nepal should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies that include provision for medical evacuation by air within Nepal, and for medical evacuation from Nepal.

New Zealanders in Nepal are encouraged to record their details with:

The New Zealand Consulate Dilli Bazar (P O Box 224) Kathmandu, Nepal
Telephone: +(977 1) 4412 436 Facsimile: + (977 1) 4414 750
Please provide the following information:

full names of individuals and accompanying dependents, New Zealand passport number(s), contact details whilst in Nepal departure dates and details, (where these are known), and contact information for a family member or friend in New Zealand.

New Zealand citizens may also register on-line (via the New Zealand High Commission in New Delhi, India) at: http://www.nzembassy.com/registration.cfm?c=1021&l=1

Please note: While every care has been taken in preparing these travel advisories, neither the New Zealand Government nor its agents and employees can accept liability for any loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained therein.


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