The ten victims of Ri-Druzhi landslide in Laya, Gasa are to be cremated on Monday (June 20).

Bodies of the deceased were flown to Gasa by midday yesterday.

By 6:30pm on June 16, the rescue team from Thimphu extracted the bodies of 10 deceased, which were buried deep under the debris.

The team of 19 who left from Laya on June 16 reached the site in the morning yesterday.

According to Gasa Dzongrab Dorji Gyeltshen, all expenses for the funeral of the 10 victims would be borne by the dzongkhag administration.

In one case three members from a family passed away

Moenlam (prayers) for the deceased began yesterday in Gasa.

Most family members of the deceased have reached Gasa from Laya. Those away collecting cordyceps are also returning to attend the funeral.

Laya’s local leaders are helping the family members find transportation for them to leave for Gasa, said Laya Gup Lhakpa Tshering.

The victims will be cremated at Gasa’s Zabsel Duthrue.

Dorji Gyeltshen said that an 18-year-old female and a 50-year-old female were the youngest and the oldest among the deceased.

He added that in one case three members from a family (husband, wife and mother of the wife) had passed away.

He said that although minor incidents of falling boulders, animals skidding in the snow were common, it was the first time that such a casualty occurred. “The incident didn’t happen because of carelessness or because they were inexperienced. It is an unfortunate incident.”

Highlanders in Laya venture to various locations in groups to collect cordyceps every year between May and June.

Located a day’s walk away from Laya, Ri-Druzhi is considered to be one of the sites abounding in cordyceps.

According to Dorji Gyeltshen there were around 60 to 70 people at site collecting cordyceps. “They were located far from the accident area and some were lower in the base, where the debris of the slide couldn’t reach.”

There were 18 camps of which 12 were buried.

“Some raised questions that had help reached earlier more lives could be saved. That’s not true. It is an area without motorable road or mobile network connection.,” Dorji Gyeltshen said.

By Phurpa Lhamo | Gasa

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk