Eight villages cut off in Athang

Bridges in Athang, Laya and Lunana were washed away

Connectivity: At least three bazams or wooden bridges in Athang gewog, Wangdue have been washed away following heavy rainfall since last week leaving more than eight villages totally cut off.

The road connecting the Athang gewog centre and farm road to Lopokha chiwog were also blocked by landslides, said Athang Gup Khandu Dorji. Athang is one of the remotest gewogs in Wangdue.

Gup Khandu said the bazams at Marakha connects the villages of Gamdo, Bartsa and Lomtshangkha. The other bridge known as Kago zam, connects the villages of Lopokha, Phatakha and is the gewog’s connection to its summer residence at Phobjikha. Kago Zam was the first bridge to be washed away on July 17.

The third bridge at Nayba benefits the people of upper Athang.

Gup Khandu said the only bridge near Lopokha between Nayba and Kago has been spared.

In Gasa, three bazams, two in Laya and one in Lunana, have been washed away in the last few days.

Gasa Dzongdag Dorji Dradhul said the bazams at Chumdona on the way to Laya were  washed away on July 10 along with a horse. The bazam at Tsarijatha, which is a two-day walk from Laya was washed away on July 21.

The bazam at Lhedi connecting the village with its community forest was also washed away on July 21.

He said that since the washing away of the three bazams will have no immediate economic impact on the lives of communities they connect, and also since there are alternative routes, the dzongkhag administration will rebuild the bridges only after the monsoon season. The bazams are mainly used during the cordyceps collection season, he said.

Meanwhile, officials said the owner of the semi-permanent house that was destroyed by a landslide on July 23 in Gasa, is currently putting up with relatives.

An assessment conducted by a committee from the dzongkhag and Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan in Gasa found that the victim lost belongings worth Nu 500,000.

Dawa Gyelmo |  Wangdue

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