Wangdue dzongkhag administration with help from army personnel worked through the night yesterday to pitch smaller tents at the Tencholing Training Centre ground for the on-going moenlam chenmo.

Officials said they collected 28 tents from schools and gewogs. “The tents would be pitched and ready for the moenlam chenmo today.”

The smaller tents were pitched after the wind collapsed the earlier one onto the devotees around 12:30 yesterday. The moenlam chenmo resumed around 2:25pm with the devotees sitting in front the collapsed tent. 

Presided over by His Holiness the Je Khenpo the moenlam chenmo began yesterday. 

Thousands of devotees mostly from Wangdue had filled the tent since 4am.

Around 12:30pm yesterday, lunch was served to the devotees. Some were outside the tent, while others were waiting inside for the moenlam chenmo to resume. 

One of the attendees, Dawa Gyem, 30, said that as the session was about to resume, those inside were standing and waiting for the Je Khenpo. “Soon, the wind blew the tent towards the left. I was somewhere in the middle and I had my baby with me. I ran barefoot to safety.”

While people seated on the far right of the tent were not hurt, the devotees in the middle and far left were under the tent when it collapsed. 

Nine were brought to Bajo hospital after the incident. A 78-year-old woman died at the hospital due to head and chest injuries. Of the nine, seven were female and two male. Two women aged 88 and 80 years were referred to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital in Thimphu for chest and lumbar injuries. 

Two were children below three years old. The two children and two men brought to the hospital were sent home yesterday while two other women are still under observation at Bajo hospital.  

Phurpa Lhamo  | Wangdue