Monsoon brings many problems to the rugged Himalayan terrain. When communication lines are disturbed, consequences are far-reaching. Disaster preparedness, however, remains a major problem for the country.

Landslides and roadblocks continue to occur and monsoon has just about begun, which means we will continue to hear about such incidences until towards the tail end of the year. In the Covid-19 days, such disruptions can have a serious impact on the people and businesses.

Constant and uninterrupted supply of essential items is critically important. Many shops in Thimphu have run out of stock. Although the supply of essential items is guaranteed and managed well between the two countries even as borders are closed due to Covid-19 scare, it is important that we ensure that incidences such as roadblocks do not cut the supply chains.

The recent Maochhu incident where four solders of the Royal Bhutan Army lost their lives while saving the lives of people caught in the flash flood is a reminder that we need beef up our disaster preparedness. We haven’t forgotten the Chukha incident where the Wangchhu washed seven boys away. Even after 13 hours, the rescue mission failed.

What with climate change and fragile topography, we will experience more such incidences in the coming days. But how much have we invested in disaster preparedness?

We are a lot better today than we were a decade ago in terms of disaster preparedness but we can and must do a lot more. Raising the level of competence and efficiency is critically important. Otherwise, we would just be adding numbers when we talk about rescue—we now have DeSuup besides the Royal Bhutan Police, Royal Bhutan Army, and forestry officials.

Our rescue operations must go beyond numbers.

However, as monsoon begins to rage, some common sense will do us good. Flash floods and landslides could occur anytime anywhere. If you must travel, ask around for information. The Royal Bhutan Police keeps updating the news of roadblocks. Avoid going near streams and rivers. These simple things can save many unnecessary deaths and pains.