A lesson for us all

Picture speaks louder than words. Indeed. It was one of the most heart-touching pictures that we saw of Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay hugging Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala yesterday.

Nepal, our good neighbour and friend, is today going through difficult times.  The massive earthquake that hit the nation on Saturday has left thousands dead and many more injured. Rescue operation is still continuing.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay led the team from Bhutan to help the recuse efforts. He was also the first head of government who visited Nepal after the major earthquake.

We are happy and proud that Bhutan sent a 63-member team of rescuers and health experts to Nepal. This speaks volumes about the care we have and give to our friends in need.

Humanity is not dead yet. We still feel the pain our neighbours are feeling and want to reach out with whatever resource we have in our hands. Prime Minister handed USD 1 million to Nepal. It is a small amount, but our gestures and goodwill was and is true.

At home, His Majesty The King and representatives of the government offered 1,000 butter lamps at the Kuenrey of the Tashichhodzong and offered prayers for the victims of the disaster.

The good news is that countries are coming from different parts of the world to help Nepal in its rescue efforts.  The country needs our help today. We must be able to give. The world must come together.

As Bhutanese, however, this tragic incident is a stern reminder to each of us, young and old, able and infirm, all. What will happen to us will be determined by how seriously we take the message in.

We are hearing that the 7.8 shake in Nepal (Central Gap) occurred as predicted by the seismic stations. Bhutan sits on one of the three seismic zones – the Kashmir Gap in the west, Central Gap in Nepal, and Assam Gap in the east. Seismologists are already predicting a major shake in Bhutan.

The question is: are we prepared for a big shake in the Assam Gap where Bhutan is located? The thing with earthquakes is that we do not know when it will strike us because we have not even a single seismic station in the whole of the country.

It will not be just buildings crumbling down when an earthquake bigger than that hit Nepal Saturday will hit us anytime soon. We stand at a precarious geological position. Lakes will burst and river systems will take a dangerous course.

Damage will not be small. It will be a catastrophe we have never imagined.

We are relieved and are thankful that government has brought back Bhutanese who were stranded in Nepal.

However, this is a lesson that we must take to heart because we sit on a powerful seismic belt.

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