Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing
A 39-year-old woman and her seven-month-old son died after a landslide caused by a heavy rainfall washed away their house at Naudhokay village in Sampheling (Pasakha) gewog between 1am and 3am on Tuesday.
The mother and the child were reportedly sleeping in a room when the landslide hit the house. The deceased’s husband and another child, who slept in a different room, escaped.
Although help reached, the woman and the baby died on the way to the hospital.
Thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai said the woman could not reach the hospital because of a huge roadblock near the Rinchending check post. “The deceased were transhifted in the block area.”
The mother and the child were declared dead when they reached the hospital around 2am.
By 8:30am, police, de-suups, and other relevant government officials and local residents helped evacuate 10 houses in the vicinity.
Sampheling Gup, Mani Kumar Rai, said people living in those houses were accommodated in a safe rental place nearby.
He said there were blocks in different areas, which had delayed people from arriving early at the incident site.
Meanwhile, the boulder export, which had resumed recently, also came to a halt yesterday because of flood in Bangaychhu at Chamkuna along the Toorsa embankment. All the roads were filled with water.
After the Bangaychhu had swollen, 38 people involved in dredging and export of boulders, who were in self-containment areas near the Bhutan Exporters Association (BEA) containment zone were stuck there on the evening of June 29.
The 38 individuals, including officials from forest, customs, and BEA were brought to Phuentsholing side after clearing the blocks at 1:30am yesterday.
On the evening of June 29, a boulder truck also slipped off the road. The driver was unharmed and safely escorted across the border.
Although the risk of the river was very high as it kept raining, there was more risk of Bhutanese mingling with the Indian drivers who were also stuck.
Kuensel learnt that 108 drivers, who were kept in self-contained areas, were escorted across the border by yesterday.
All the Bhutanese who stayed in the self-containment had been tested and sent home yesterday. It is unlikely the boulder export will resume today.
An exporter said that the new SoP for exporting boulders, which required each exporter to have their own self-containment infrastructure to keep their staff, was risky due to the peak monsoon season.
“I shared this concern last time,” an exporter said. “I knew it would happen. But I don’t know why the authorities made this protocol.”
Many exporters said that having self-containment was an additional expenditure.
At the Phuentsholing Township Development Project in Toorsa, water had entered into many construction areas and formed pools.
However, according to the project manager, Kamal Dhakal, there were no damages to any infrastructure or construction.
“But there was overflow from the outfalls that have caused accumulation of debris,” he said, adding that they were clearing the debris.
Kamal Dhakal said the project has not seen any risk from the Toorsa river and Omchhu.
Samtse also saw heavy rainfall yesterday and on June 29. However, the rain subsided yesterday evening.
Roadblocks were reported in at least 11 different locations on highways and gewog roads.
Officials said machines have been deployed to clear the blocks and no casualties were reported.
Sources said Dorokha drungkhag’s internet line was also disrupted a month ago and it could not be restored, as officials responsible to look after the problem were stuck in the red zone areas in Phuentsholing.
“Only yesterday we received the confirmation that they went to study the faults but it seems their effort got hindered due to road blocks and incessant rain,” Dorokha drungpa Karma Jurmi said.
Edited by Tashi Dema