DOLPA, June 7: A week after the reported deaths of five Yarsa pickers in the highlands of Dolpa, three more people have succumbed to extreme cold and high altitude sickness this week.
Those dying in the highlands this week have been identified as Krishna Bahadur Shahi, 39, of Athbiskot Municipality-9 in Rukum (West), Dhanakala Budha, 40, of Thulibheri Municipality-5 and a newly-born child of Kanchi BK, 40, of Kaike Rural Municipality of Dolpa.
Harsh weather, improper diet and altitude sickness have been blamed for the deaths, according to Awadhesh Bista, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of the District Police Office (DPO), Dolpa. It has been learnt that the newborn died at a place called Thange while Krishna Shahi died in Dho Takshi, a highland in Dolpobuddha Rural Municipality. Both died on June 3.
Similarly, Dhanakala Budha died in Gyalwada of Thulibheri Municipality-11 on June 2, according to the DPO. Earlier, Krishna BK, 18, of Barekot Rural Municipality-1, Jajarkot, and Ramesh Chalaune, 18, of the same district lost their lives while picking Yarsa. Krishna died in the Ramana highland of She Phoksundo Rural Municipality while Ramesh died in Pyarivokpama, according to Chhatra Khadka, information officer of She Phoksundo National Park, Suligada.
Likewise, Buddhi Karki, 38, of Thuli Bheri Municipality-11 died after falling from a cliff while picking the prized fungus at Duna of Dolpa on May 30. Earlier, two persons from Jumla who had reached the highlands for collecting Yarsa before those places were officially opened for Yarsa-picking, died due various reasons.
With this, the number of Yarsa pickers dying in the highlands of Dolpa has climbed to eight. Incessant rainfall and heavy snowfall have been taking their toll on the lives of the Yarsa collectors. Following the deaths of Yarsa pickers, Karnali Province had deployed a dozen different teams of doctors and health workers in the highland pastures to organize mobile health camps for 15 days.