Infrastructure and crops damaged by recent disaster

Some gewog roads are yet to be cleared in Chukha

Disaster: A report of the damage caused by the recent rainfall in Chukha was presented and discussed at the 11th and the last dzongkhag tshogde on August 3.

Landslides and flooding due to incessant rainfall that began on July 22 and lasted for more than a week washed away a man and caused numerous damages to public and private properties, crops, and livestock in Chukha.

Roads

Reestablishing road connectivity was identified as a top priority. Gups were instructed to inform the dzongkhag immediately if road connectivity is cut and emergency supplies were required. While there were no cases of gewogs requiring supplies, Dungna Gup Lam Dorji said he is concerned about the gewog’s road still not being open to traffic.  “Vehicles cannot ply on the gewog connectivity road from the 22km point towards Dungna,” he said, adding that damage has occurred at several points.  Lam Dorji said if the road is not repaired soon, villagers could suffer, especially, in times of emergencies. The gup is also concerned that the farm shop in Dungna will run out of rations. “I did not see much in the shop,” he said. “Civil servants in our gewog are getting affected.” Metedkha gup, Jangchuk, expressed similar concerns on road connectivity. Metedkha also depends on the same road that connects Dungna but is located farther. “Even two excavators would need about a half month to repair the road,” he said.  Gup Jangchuk said people are currently consuming food that was cultivated last year and there is currently no shortage. Around 50 boleros are also stuck on the Dungna gewog road stretch between Metedkha and Ganglakha. Vehicles have been stuck since July 21.

The roads department, meanwhile, has started looking into the matter. A roads department official from the Phuentsholing regional office said there is no cause for concern as machinery has been mobilised and work will begin shortly on the road.

The official said that the department’s priority was to reestablish connectivity on the national highways and then move onto secondary roads.

Crops

Major damage to crops occurred in Chapcha in Chukha, the disaster management team presented.  An officiating disaster management official with the dzongkhag, Kinley, said that the prolonged rainfall and landslides had damaged 2,503.68 metric tonnes (MT) of potatoes on 212.32 acres of land in Rimteykha and Shemagangkha. “It is major compared to the rest of the gewogs,” he said, adding that the potatoes were even affected in April this year.  Cardamom orchards were also affected.  The report revealed that more than 30 acres of cardamom fields were affected by landslides triggered due to the rain in five gewogs: Bongo, Darla, Phuentsholing, Getena, and Dungna.  Ginger, paddy, vegetables, mandarin, and betel nut trees were also affected.

Property

Meanwhile, public property in nine gewogs out of 11 were damaged. A total of 21 private houses were affected. The gewogs of Sampheling and Phuentsholing each saw five houses damaged, while Lokchina and Darla each had three damaged. In each of the other five gewogs, at least one house was damaged. However, it was reported that the damage was not severe.  “The houses had not completely collapsed,” Kinley said. “A few were on the verge of collapsing though.” All eleven gewogs had public property that was damaged. Besides gewog connectivity and  farm roads, retention walls, school infrastructure, Basic Health Units, and bridges were damaged.  Around 17 families in Phuentsholing thromde were affected when the Amochhu burst its banks. Fifteen workshops and ware houses were also affected and sustained damaged.  A retaining wall along the Omchhu and the supporting wall of a bailey bridge in Kabreytar also collapsed. The new  road to Bhugotey Bari was washed away.  The flood also washed away 15 goats and eight cows.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

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