80 houses confirmed damaged in Lunana

Two yaks were killed and 45 solar panels destroyed by the windstorm 

Disaster: The December 26 windstorm has affected the roofs of 80 houses including three government structures in Thanza, Toenchay and Tshojong villages of Lunana gewog in Gasa.

The Royal Insurance Corporation Limited (RICBL) in Gasa confirmed this yesterday after its officials returned from Lunana.

Gasa’s RICBL staff were among a four-member team led by foreign minister Damchoe Dorji who flew to Lunana by helicopter to assess the windstorm damage and situation on the ground. The team also included Lunana Gup Gyembo Tshering and a reporter from Bhutan Broadcasting Service.

According to a report compiled by the RICBL in-charge of Gasa, Chimi Dem, out of 80 houses, the roofs of five houses were completely destroyed, while roofs of 12 houses suffered 50 percent damage.

The windstorm has also partially damaged the roofs of around 30 houses and three government structures, including an out-reach centre, an extended classroom and the office of the flood warning system.

Two yaks were confirmed to have been killed by the windstorm and 45 solar panels were destroyed, said Chimi Dem.

Lunana gup Gyembo Tshering said the team reached Lunana at around 10:20am in the morning and managed to visit all affected houses. When returning from Lunana, the chopper had to land in Zomlingthang in Punakha to refuel before taking off for Thimphu, yesterday.

Gup Gyembo Tshering also said the government has given tarpaulins to 10 households to use as temporary roofs for protection from snowfall. “The minister also told the affected people that government would provide timber for roofing,” said the gup.

He said although the government has sent tents, not a single household had to stay in tents, as villagers have temporary structures already built next to their main houses to store goods.

Gup Gyembo Tshering said the windstorm was reported to have started around dawn and grew stronger at around 1am subsiding only at around 4pm. “While it is almost normal for Lunana to experience windstorm in winter, no such destruction has been reported so far,” gup Gyembo Tshering said. No one suffered any injuries.

Meanwhile, RICBL has started working on insurance payments, said Chimi Dem.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue

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