Dealing with emergencies while traveling Nepal

Emergencies in Nepal
Emergencies in Nepal

Sooner or later, some travelers will encounter an emergency while abroad. Dealing with a serious injury, illness, an assault, or even just running out of funds is never a pleasant situation. However, a little preparation beforehand can help you better prepare and cope with the situations life throws at you. Crises or unexpected happenings can occur at anytime, anywhere during traveling. Therefore, we at Nepal trekking recommend all tourists to be well planned for such situations before traveling. In case tourists encounter crises or emergency situations, the Board will intervene and co-ordinate to advise the tourism industry and other agencies (such as health services, foreign embassies, press, security and rescue associations) to help ensure the safety of tourists and the provision of accurate information.

Travel Preparation:

Health insurance: Carry your insurance card with you. Inquire about what coverage you have internationally: most likely you will need to take out specialist travel insurance. In some countries, medical costs are very low. However, many overseas hospitals will insist on having payment for services before providing (or continuing) medical care. Having an insurance card may show the hospital that you have sufficient resources to provide medical care, even if you have no money on hand.

Medevac insurance: Medevac means “Medical Evacuation”. This is the process of chartering a special jet with medical personnel to bring you back from wherever you are to the nearest country with decent medical care or your home country, where medical care may be better and where your friends and family can be near. The price of this can be extremely high if you’re crossing oceans: $500,000 is not uncommon, and many insurers recommend having coverage of up to $1,000,000. Medevac coverage or a separate Medevac policy is a good idea, particularly if you are going to spend a long time abroad.

Important phone numbers: There is no substitute for knowing the emergency phone numbers of the country you’re in. Carry in your wallet the local phone numbers for emergency services, such as ambulance or police. On GSM phones, the number 100 will connect to emergency police services in Nepal. Travel insurers often have a 24 hour reverse charges helpline. Also carry the phone number of your country’s embassy and your credit and ATM card issuer (they may even have a reverse charges number) so that you can report a card stolen or find out why it isn’t working.

Leave copies of your plans with someone at home: They should have your itinerary, copies of your identity documents and details of your insurance policies. You should give them an idea of how often to expect contact. This will help them find you and/or get you consular and medical assistance if you can’t get it yourself.

Carry money wisely and in multiple forms: Carrying all your money in one wallet can wreak havoc on your trip if the wallet is lost or stolen. Spread out your money, both on your person and in your bags. Furthermore, try to have multiple financial resources available. For example, a budget traveller might take a supply of cash for most ordinary purchases, keep an ATM or debit card for cash withdrawals, and carry a credit card or two for emergencies or to buy airline tickets. Each of these (cash, credit cards, ATM card) can themselves be a separate means of getting money. Keep them in safe places, but split between your bags and your person.

Know the lingo: Be able to say, “I need help, Please call police” in the local language ( Malai Sahayog Garnus).

In case of crisis/ emergency in Nepal, tourists can contact:

Tourist Police, Bhrikutimandap
Tel: +977-1- 4247041 Fax: 4227281
Tourist Police, Thamel
Tel: +977-1-4700750
Tourist Police, Basantapur
Tel: +977-1-4268969, 4269452
Tourist Police, Pashupati
Tel: +977-1-4478126
Tourist Police, Tribhuvan International Airport
Tel: +977-1-6227122
Tourist Police, Pokhara
Tel: +977-61-462761
Tourist Police, Belhiya
Tel: +977-71-520197
Police Headquarter Operation, Naxal
Tel: +977-1-4412780, 4411549
Metro Police Control, Ranipokhari
Tel: 100, 120, 130/ 977-1-4225989
Department of Immigration, Kalikasthan
Tel: +977-1-4429660
Tourism Crisis Unit
Tel: +977- 97510-44088
Nepal Tourism Board, Bhrikutimandap
Tel: +977-1-4256909
Nepal Tourism Board, Pokhara
Tel: +977-61-465292, 463029
Himalayan Rescue Association
Tel: +977-1-4440292/ 4440293

What your embassy can do:

The quick answer is much less than you’d expect—in particular, they will never pay a single cent of any costs caused by the emergency—but their assistance can still be valuable. These services can also be provided by consulates and associated countries (eg. Commonwealth embassies for Commonwealth citizens, EU embassies for EU citizens).

If you lose your passport, your embassy can make a new one for you, often very quickly. You’ll usually need a police report and a copy of the lost passport will be very helpful. Fees will apply. Note that sometimes the fast-turnaround passports are temporary and may need to be converted to a regular passport once you are back home, with varying degrees of headache.

If you have already reported a passport as stolen/missing and you find it afterwards, do not attempt to use it. Stolen/missing passports are entered in Interpol’s database to prevent misuse, and anyone attempting to enter a country using one will throw up huge red flags.

If you’re the victim of a crime, your embassy can put you in touch with lawyers, translators and the police. They will not pay any expenses.

If you lose all your money, your embassy may, in extreme cases, arrange transportation back home. This is a last resort (they’ll try to contact friends/relatives and have them wire money first) and you’ll have to pay the costs with interest when you get back.

If you’re arrested, you have a right to consular assistance. This means that the embassy can arrange a lawyer, a translator and contact your family. You’ll have to pay for at least the first two. The embassy cannot pay fines, get you out of jail, interfere in the legal process of the country you are in or try to exempt you from local laws.

If you’re hospitalized, the embassy can notify insurers or relatives. They cannot pay the bills on your behalf.
If you die, the embassy will confirm your identity, contact next of kin and collect paperwork. They cannot pay for expenses such as funerals or transporting the body.

Embassies usually cannot assist you in legal matters if you hold citizenship of the country you are currently in even if you are a citizen of the embassy’s country too.

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