Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

Seven families living in makeshift houses in Rochu near Punatsangchhu Hydroelectric Project I (PI) powerhouse were evacuated as landslides threaten their homes. Rochu is around 20km from Bajo, Wangdue.

Continuous rainfall the previous day triggered multiple landslides on the slope above the Wangdue-Tsirang highway.

Debris from a landslide damaged a room of Krishna Bdr Rai’s home and the land behind another house.

Krishna Bdr Rai said that while the residents wanted to run towards the road above their colony for safety, the route to the area was blocked. “So we ran through the forest and spent the night along the road,” he said.

The residents of the colony have been living there for 13 years. Two households collected their belongings and left the area yesterday evening.

Some said while numerous calls were made to officials, no one turned up to help.

One of the relatives claimed that he had called Wangdue police, who directed him to contact the substation in the area. “Police official said they would visit the area. I don’t know if they visited but no one came for help.” Kuensel learnt that Zawakha police was engaged in evacuating and clearing landslide at various areas along Basochhu. And there were some miscommunication about the location.

Until around 8pm yesterday, five families remained in their homes despite the risks.

One of the residents, Muna Limbu said that without any relatives in Wangdue, shifting was difficult.

“My grandfather cannot even walk. Last night, I had to carry him on my back while running to safety.”

However, after the rains continued the families moved to with their friends and relatives for the night.

“I have a daughter in Bajo. So I had to come because my children were really scared to be there,” Bir Maya Subba said.