UPDATE- No sooner did I post this than I found news that the young girls body has been found. My heart goes out to her family. I really hope that someone begins taking these tragic events up in the Langtang region very seriously.
A young Belgian girl named Debbie Maveau has gone missing in the Langtang area. She is 23 years old and was last recorded at the check post in Dhunche on May 30th. She was supposed to fly back home early this month and has missed her flight. If you were recently trekking in the area and saw her or have any information about her please contact the Belgian Consulate at 014432867. I don’t think I need to mention how important time is in a case like this, so please help as soon as possible if you know anything at all. Below is a poster I snapped a picture of in Thamel the other night.
I also want to take the time to offer advice against any travel to the Langtang area for the time being. I say this as someone that has traveled to Langtang on three separate occasions and has greatly enjoyed the hospitality of the local population and the beauty of the region. I also say this as someone who almost exactly two years ago, when Aubrey Sacco went missing, defended travel there as still relatively safe and an isolated incident that seemed out of character of the region. Over the last two years though people continue to still search for Aubrey with very little local support, just last season another American girl was assaulted on the trail, and rumor has it that a Korean girl was also assaulted, though no reports were filed that I’m aware of. Other stories keep coming to me from a varied number of sources that other things are being swept under the rug or the whole truth is not being told. Included in this was a body found in the Helumbu region during the search for Aubrey that was not adequately explained or even told to the public. Now another young foreign girl is missing.
Although no one, or very few that aren’t talking, know exactly what’s going on Langtang, there is a very clear pattern emerging over the last two years that shows that it is not a safe travel destination, especially for young foreign woman. I still believe that Nepal is a relatively safe travel destination, that most of its trekking trails are some of the best in the world, and highly recommend coming here, but I think it’s clear that there is a problem in Langtang that needs to be dealt with before more young girls go missing. The trail in Langtang is not a difficult one, it is almost impossible to lose, and there are few places that offer a real hazard of falling or getting yourself into trouble in a place where a passerby would not soon find and help you out. This adds to the speculation that whatever is happening is probably at the hands of people with ill intent.
As Nepal, and even other embassies and consulates, are not in a hurry to make much of this information very public, I think it’s important that we get the information out there to reduce the chances of this happening again. People need to be informed of what is going on, and pressure should be brought to bear to ensure that the authorities in the area realize that there will be economic consequences if these kind of cases continue to not get enough attention and whoever is responsible for the problem continues to go free. My heart continues to go out to the family of Aubrey, and now to this girl’s family too. We can hope that both of these girls turn up and are found safe and sound, but until then please think before traveling there until something is done as I would rather this list doesn’t get any longer.