A windstorm on May 4 night blew off roofs of eight houses in Bartsham gewog, Trashigang. Of the eight, roofs of three houses were completely damaged. No casualty was reported.

The windstorm was followed by heavy rains on May 5 night causing the drains to overflow into a flash flood that damaged farm roads and washed away crops in four of the five chiwogs.

Debris and boulders that washed down the slope where Bartsham central school is located covered the multipurpose hall and partially damaged a hostel after the rain flooded the hostel. No students were harmed since the students were evacuated the same night.

Gup Kelzang Dawa in a telephone interview said the gewog connectivity road was also damaged but the road is now open to traffic while other farm roads remain closed. He said the last time Bartsham saw such a weather was about 25 years ago.

He said a Hilux, which was parked in front of a farmer’s house was also buried under the debris while another farmer’s house, which is under construction was partially damaged.

“The debris washed off all the potatoes and maize, which were ready for harvest and paddy saplings that were just transplanted,” he said. “The houses affected in the windstorm have been provided tarpaulin sheets from the dzongkhag but the affected families are still putting up with relatives or neighbours.”

Kelzang Dawa also said that the students have returned to the hostel. “I will be going to the dzongkhag administration to follow up on insurance,” he said.

Trashigang dzongdag Chekey Gyeltshen said officials along with disaster management team are already assessing the damage to houses and crops. Insurance assessment have already been completed but they are yet to release the payment.

The dzongdag said that most farm roads are also closed and may need to be rebuilt since they are completely damaged. A machine will be deployed to clear the school hall today.

Bartsham is 21km from Trashigang.

Yangchen C Rinzin