The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) has alerted disaster management and rescue officials to keep rescue and search equipment ready for possible disaster in the wake of a cyclone warning.

Yang Dorji from the Preparedness and Response Division, DDM, said that there was no need for people to panic and that all the dzongkhag and gewog disaster management bodies were alerted.

“We have alerted the dzongkhags and gewogs and schools to remain alert,” he said.

The DDM yesterday issued an advisory to dzongdags and thrompons, asking them to sensitise the general public and dzongkhags officials, including gups and disaster management staff in the dzongkhag.

“The DDMO may also be instructed to fully charge their radio equipment and keep their search and rescue (SAR) equipment ready. They may also inform all the SAR teams to be ready for response,” it stated.

Cyclone Fani made landfall in Odhisa, India yesterday morning. “The cyclone will have impact all over West Bengal and some parts of Assam,” DDM stated.

Fani is likely to bring heavy to very heavy rainfall over the southern, eastern and isolated places of central parts of the country. The rest of the country, according to the advisory, is likely to receive moderate to heavy rain from May 3 to 5.

The advisory alerted that gusty winds are very likely over the country during this period. “Due to very heavy rainfall flashfloods, floods, landslides and windstorms are likely over the eastern and southern parts of the country.”

The system is expected to dissipate from May 6.

The education ministry also issued an advisory yesterday asking educations officials in dzongkhags to remain on high alert in the wake of the warning about the impacts of possible of heavy rainfall, flash floods, landslides and windstorms.

The ministry has asked schools, ECCD, NFE and Youth centres to remain on high alert and take precautionary measures to ensure safety of children, youth and learners.

Schools have been specifically asked to brief all the students, staff and family members on the threat of cyclone Fani. It has reminded all schools, students and parents to take care and ensure all young children are accompanied by older siblings, family members or friends during such situations.

The ministry notification has asked the schools to avoid unnecessary travels and call off classes, if the situation becomes bad from the worsening of weather conditions. It advises people to travel with extreme caution, in case of unavoidable cases.

Gelephu Thromde, one of the thromdes that is likely to be affected the most, has also alerted residents. Southern Bhutan, especially Sarpang has been marked as the red zone for all these three days. Officiating thrompon Tashi Wangmo yesterday issued a public notification asking all thromde thuemis to sensitise the public.


Two airlines monitoring situation

The Druk Air has notified its station managers about the possible cyclone, according to its management. “For us, the number one priority is safety, the business aspect comes second,” said Druk Air CEO Tandin Wangchuk, adding that the situation was being monitored.

However, he said that Fani had not affected its business as of yesterday. 

The CEO said that there is no scheduled flight between Paro and Kolkatta today. Asked if the adverse weather will affect flights from tomorrow, Tandin Wangchuk said, “When we deal with something like possible disaster, we can know things as we deal with it.”

CEO of Bhutan Airlines, Phala Dorji, said that that the management is keeping itself updated with the situation. He said that no scheduled flights were cancelled or postponed.

“We are operating as per our schedule.”

MB Subba