But mitigation teams working on reinforcing Amochhu embankment play big part in minimising flood impact in Phuentsholing
Disaster: More people living near the banks of the Amochhu in Phuentsholing were evacuated to safer ground yesterday.
Most of the evacuees consisted of those owning shops and working for businesses located along the river.
The Amochhu, fed by continuous rainfall over the past few days, continued to erode land and also flooded workshops and warehouses located along its banks.
Some of the workshops still had heavy machinery and other smaller equipment inside their compounds. Teams comprising of army and police personnel, Desuups, thromde and dungkhag officials, and other volunteers are working on mitigation works to prevent further flooding along the river.
Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, who had been visiting Lingzhi in the north of Thimphu, headed straight to the Amochhu flood area on the evening of July 23. He joined the team helping to fill sand bags to strengthen embankment walls until the early morning hours yesterday.
Lyonchoen again visited the site during the day yesterday after visiting other affected areas towards Pasakha.
Expressing his gratitude to the mitigation and safety team, Lyonchoen said the mitigation work near the Rigsar Construction company looked simple but was crucial in preventing more flooding and destruction.
Hundreds of sand bags were placed along this stretch. Later in the afternoon, mitigation works were initiated downstream and continued throughout the evening despite rain.
Meanwhile, business establishments in the high-risk zones were able to shift their necessary machinery and vehicles to safer grounds.
Some heavy equipment, located near Bangay Bazaar, and destined for hydropower projects across the country were also affected by the flood.
The Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway was further damaged yesterday. A portion of the road at Kamji was washed away.
There was only enough space left over for one person to cross over the washed away stretch.
Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay told Kuensel that everything would be done to solve the problem.
An official with the Department of Roads (DoR) in Phuentsholing said that a 100-foot stretch had been washed away.
DoR, the Construction Development Corporation Ltd, and DANTAK are involved in launching a 110-foot bailey bridge over the washed away portion.
As of last evening, 80 percent of preparations had been completed with most bridge parts reaching the site.
Launching of the bridge is scheduled to begin by 11am today and the bridge is expected to be completed by tonight. However, traffic is likely to be allowed to cross the bridge only by tomorrow afternoon.
Meanwhile, several other landslides were reported along the highway, some of which have already been cleared.
Continuous rain triggered a flood in the town submerging the border gate area. Similarly, drains in the Kabreytar and Dhamdara areas also overflowed and roads were damaged.
The Omchhu had also swollen into a massive river and the construction site for a bridge located at the confluence where it meets the Amochhu was affected.
Protection walls have collapsed in several areas.
Vehicle traffic between Pasakha and Phuentsholing was not possible for the third day yesterday.
People walked to their offices in Pasakha. However, police have been advising against using the Bhalujhora bridge in Pasakha as its deck slabs had cracked and broken, risking collapse. With the water level rising, the bridge’s condition had worsened by yesterday evening.
A flash flood also occurred at Toribari between Rinchending and Pasakha early yesterday but it was eventually cleared.
Lhamoizingkha cut off
Lhamoizingkha dungkhag has been cut off for six days. The Kalikhola river on the border has swollen making it impossible for vehicles and people to cross. The dungkhag has also been experiencing frequent power cuts for the last five days. The dungkhang’s B-mobile network is also down.
Another bridge collapse in Buduney, Samtse
Another bridge collapsed into the Buduney river in Samtse yesterday morning.
In total, two of the four interconnected bridges over the Buduney have now collapsed. One bridge collapsed on the morning of July 22. The second collapsed in the early morning hours yesterday.
“As of now there is no connectivity,” a DoR official said. “The alternatives can be worked on only when the rain stops.”
Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing