Picking up the pieces

Relief teams reach all affected areas

Disaster: The dzongkhag relief teams have reached all the affected areas, where the April 4 windstorm in about 10 minutes damaged 815 homes, 89 government structures, and 15 public infrastructures across 52 gewogs in nine dzongkhags.

In all, 919 structures reported damages, as of last evening, according to preliminary reports with the department of disaster management.

Of the 89 government structures, 62 were schools, followed by seven health facilities and 20 lhakhangs and choetens.  Damage to cash crops like potatoes, wheat, and cardamom was also reported in Bongo, Chukha.  Three persons, one in Dagana and two in Chukha’s Darla gewogs, were injured, while a cow and four calves were killed.

Disaster management officials in Thimphu said dzongkhag and gewog disaster response teams, headed by dzongdas, have covered all the affected areas by yesterday. “We’re yet to receive the estimates of the damages as the teams are still assessing and gathering more information from the field,” director general Chhador Wangdi said.

Public infrastructure includes warehouse, a vehicle showroom and retention walls.

The preliminary report states that the dzongkhags have distributed 550 tarpaulin sheets as temporary relief measures across nine dzongkhags.

The worst hit district, Dagana, reported damages from nine gewogs, where 330 houses were affected.  The district also reported damages to 30 public and government infrastructures, including schools, health centres and lhakhangs.

Chukha reported damages in eight of its 11 gewogs, where 191 households were affected.  The windstorm also damaged 37 government structures and four public infrastructures.

PWD workers in Tsirang clear the roads

In Samtse, nine of the 15 gewogs reported damages to structures affecting 171 households, 29 government infrastructures and private property.  In Tsirang, except for two, all 10 gewogs reported damages to 43 houses.

Roofs of the hospital and the FCB warehouse in Damphu were completely ripped off by the strong winds.  About 46 households in six gewogs of Pemagatshel and 24 households and two lhakhangs in five gewogs of Samdrupjongkhar also suffered minor to major damages.

Sarpang, Zhemgang and Trashigang reported the least damage, with about one to six structures, including roofs of houses being blown off by the windstorm.

Trashigang dzongda, Lungten Dorji said of the six houses damaged in the windstorm, one was affected the most.  The rest of the houses were semi-permanent structures, where some portions of the roofs were blown away. “We’ve distributed tarpaulin sheets and dignity kits to the affected families,” the dzongda said. “Trashigang is still experiencing strong winds and rain.”

Zhemgang dzongrab Namgay Rinchen said that no casualties were reported, and the damaged structures mostly include semi-permanent structures besides a house under construction.  The dzongkhag relief team visited all the sites and provided CGI sheets to the affected.

“With the roof of Gomphu BHU completely blown off with the shingles, we could only use plastic sheets for now,” the dzongrab said, adding that three staff live in the BHU.

A preliminary assessment of the six demkhongs of Phuentsholing thromde states that about 90 percent of private and public structures were affected.  About 540 areca nut trees were also felled.

In some areas, retention walls had also collapsed.  Roofs of the recently constructed Palden Tashichholing dratshang’s monk hostel and three staff quarters and two toilets of Reldri high school were also blown off.

About eight private vehicles, including a pool vehicle were damaged in the windstorm.  Five were new Hyundai cars of which one had been dispatched to a customer.

Water connectivity in Phuentsholing saw some improvement but some pockets are still facing shortage.

In Tsirang, public works department workers have started clearing debris from the roads for smooth traffic.

Senior forest officer, DB Chhetri, said they were still assessing the number of trees felled. “We’ll hand over the trees that can be used further to the Natural Resources Development corporation, while the rest will be sold to fire wood suppliers and given to the needy,” he said.

The FCB warehouse in Damphu reported damage to goods worth about Nu 26,000.  Three groups of Bhutan Power Corporation staff were deployed to carry out maintenance works to restore power supply in the dzongkhag.

“Except for some villages in Rangthaling and Tsholingkhar gewogs, we managed to restore power supply for most homes by last night,” the electricity service division’s manager Dil Kumar Rasaily said.

By Kinga Dema

Additional reporting by Rajesh Rai and Yeshey Dema

 

 

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