Flood: People living within the glacier lake outburst (GLOF) hazardous zones in Bumthang are still anxious following a July 26 incident where flood sirens went off.

Naleymo, 42, from Wangdicholing village, who lives right below the Wangdicholing foot path, said she slept in a friend’s house for four days following the incident. “Now I live in my house but with a lot of fear,” she said.

Karma, 54, who lives in a two-storey traditional house near the Chamkhar-Dekiling bypass said they are warned about GLOF every time it rains. “We know that we are under threat but no one knows when the GLOF will occur,” he said.

Karma said the government has constructed retention walls along both sides of the river which are now damaged. He said the highest risk is in an area below Chakar Lhakhang where there is no retention wall.

The river recently washed away even the traditional trail towards Chakhar from Dekiling. “The river could change its course and flow through the area where my house is,” he said.

Nima Sangay, 68, said the river has already washed away some portion of hill below Chakar Lhakhang and that he has informed the thromdey thuemi.

Observers said the government has been spending significantly on constructing retention walls along the river in the area every year only for it to be washed away during the monsoons. Many said that the government should explore other designs.

There are some 10 households living in the hazardous zone in Wangdicholing village excluding those in Chamkhar town.

The thromdey thuemi could not be contacted.

Nima Wangdi | Bumthang