Dzongkhag evacuates villagers

Landslide: About 20 villagers were evacuated from their homes August 29 after a landslide hit Yumche village in Lhuentse’s Jarey gewog on August 24.

The families with school-going children and infants have been living in tents and cattle sheds since then.

The landslide below their village occurred on August 24 blocking their farm road as well. A few days after the landslide, cracks appeared on the walls as the land surrounding the homes sunk.

The gewog administrative officer, Dorji Tshering, said four houses were severely affected.

“If the downpour prolongs for a few more days, it would pose great threat to the people and their properties,” he said.

The seven households (gungpa) live in four two-storey houses.

The dzongkhag and gewog officials visited the village on August 27. After assessing the damages, the officials asked the villagers to vacate their homes along with their belongings.

One of the villagers, Kelzang Dema, said that it had rained continuously for the past three weeks.

“Something like this had never happened and now I fear if the slide takes away my house I can’t build one,” Kelzang Dema said.

One of the affected is 80-year-old Zangmo.  Her house was built in 2009, but now the walls have cracked. Her children are leaving in Thimphu and other districts. Now she is leaving in a cowshed.

Sources said the village farm road could be a reason for the slide as it occurred right above the road. Lhuentse dzongdag and kidu officer could not visit the village as the roads are blocked with landslides.

Yumche, about 10km from Jarey gewog centre, is one of the remotest places in Lhuentse. There are  37 households that mainly depend on maize.

By Tashi Phuntsho

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