Heavy rains flood homes, block Gelephu-Zhemgang highway

Gelephu thromde evacuated at least three families from the low lying areas in Jampheling demkhong yesterday after their makeshift huts were flooded with rainwater.

They are temporarily staying at the guesthouse near the water treatment plant. Gelephu thromde officials said that the over flow of Mao River drains into the Lower Jampheling, which is located about 500 meters away. The evacuees’ huts were built at a level lower than the road.

The families were evacuated along with their belongings. Other areas in the town however did not flood from the downpour. “Other parts of the town are safe as of now,” thromde officials said.

At least 500 meters of the highway was washed away at Box Cutting

Following heavy rainfall, the Gelephu-Zhemgang highway also remained blocked at several locations. With at least 500 meters of the highway washed away at box cutting, it took three heavy machinery almost eight hours to clear the road yesterday.

An engineer with the Department of Roads (DoR), Kishor Chhetri, said, the road remains closed until late afternoon because of heavy landslide. On August 9, a pay-loader skid and fell into the river. The driver however, managed to jump off the machine and escaped. He was immediately taken to Gelephu referral hospital and is in stable condition. The machine that fell into the river was hired to assist three other excavators to clear the roadblock sooner.

“The traffic flow cannot be smooth as the land above continues to slide,” he said.

Department of Roads has also deployed two excavators at Setikharey stream to scoop out sand from the riverbed. Scooping out sand, Kishore Chhetri said, lets water flow in one direction and prevents it from flowing into the village.

He said that the drainage below a culvert at the highway is narrow and clogs easily. Should that passage remain clogged for sometime, during heavy rainfall the water could overflow into Perlithang Khamaed village below the Gelephu-Zhemgang Highway.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang

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