No help has come from the authorities so far
Flood: The Amochu, which flooded the Bangay Bazar area yesterday morning in Phuentsholing, left behind seven families with no homes.
While sweeping away their homes, the floodwaters also flooded a brick factory and submerged two excavators and three school buses downstream.
As the water level started receding through the evening, worries engulfed the seven families who lost their makeshift houses and shops at the embankment near Phuentsholing’s Youth Development Fund building.
While some had found refuge at their friends and relatives’ houses, some were still strolling the area in disbelief and without a place to go.
A woman who lost a shop to the floods, Samten Pem, said she has no house to stay. “I am still trying to find a place to settle tonight,” she said. “I lost everything with the house.”
The flood that was triggered following a heavy downpour since June 30 also left Yeshey Tshomo, a mother of a five month old child homeless. In the rush, she could only secure a cloth, a powder, and a cream of the toddler.
Yeshey Tshomo was waiting for her husband, a driver, who was in Thimphu when the flood hit the Torsa embankments early yesterday.
Residents living at the Torsa embankment said the river water started seeping into their homes from 3am.
Lobzang, 55, a security guard with Druk Punjab Bank said he was on duty when the flood hit his home.
“I got a call from my brother who is in Dorokha,” he said. “I called my family and asked them to inform others as well.”
Although no casualties were reported, a man from Gelephu, who was marooned over a bus roof, was also rescued. A team of police personnel, Desuups, and other officials had to use an excavator to bring him to safety.
Residents in the embankment said the man had slept in one of the school buses.
But what has left the members of these families aghast was when they received no help from authorities.
Thromde officials had visited the place and taken records of the damages. Officials from dungkhag also visited the place early morning and advised the residents to refrain from going close to the river.
A high school student, Tshering Dema said the officials had advised them not to stay too close to the river, but did not render any help to the affected. Half of what her family owned, she said, was washed away.
A commuter, Phub Dorji, who was on his way to Lokchina to meet his brother, was surprised when he saw no one helping the families.
“I had to stop here and help an old man who was trying to find his belongings,” he said, adding that he was unhappy with the crowd just taking pictures and not helping the neighbours during such emergencies.
“Officials from relevant agencies should have helped the people, who had lost their homes,” he said.
If officials from relevant agencies cannot help in such disastrous moment, Phub Dorji said, it was no use having them.
However, words of these families being illegal settlers on government land have begun to go around the town.
Phuentsholing Thromde had also notified the settlers to vacate the land but for the last four years, notices have not worked.
The case is similar with the settlers in the main Bangay bazaar, which was not affected by the flooding.
The flash flood has also damaged properties. While two excavators surfaced as the water level dropped, another two excavators were still under water yesterday evening.
A workshop and a brick-manufacturing factory were also affected when the water gushed inside. Three school buses were also flooded but residents said the buses were of no use and that the vehicles had remained there for more than two months.
Due to heavy rainfall, the road from Bangay bazaar to Lokchina gewog and other villages of Phuentsholing gewog has also been cut off.
The point at Chamkuna on the Samtse – Phuentsholing highway, near Bangay bazaar, which is yet to complete has also been severed.
Meanwhile, the seven families, who have settled illegally for more than four years now are hopeful that the government would come to their help soon.
Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing