Nepal considerations

This item appears on page 19 of the January 2009 issue.

Despite the recent smooth transition of government in Nepal, some unrest remains. One subgroup continues to engage in extortion, abuse and threats of violence, particularly in rural areas. Clashes continue among other political rivals. Violent actions by multiple armed splinter groups in the Terai region along the southern border with India remain a significant concern.

While protests and pre-election localized bombing incidents have decreased, demonstrations and disruptions still occur. Avoid areas where crowds are forming, avoid road travel and maintain a low profile. Curfews can be announced with little or no advance notice. 

Crime has increased in some popular tourist areas such as Pokhara and the Thamel area of Kathmandu.

In addition, recent floods in the southeast knocked out power lines bringing electricity from India, and the lines could not be repaired before winter. Ironically, reservoir levels are lower than usual, reducing hydropower capability. Thus, for a few months, daily power outages may last 14 hours instead of the usual five.