Claims for 873 houses across 11 districts have been estimated at about Nu 15 million 

Windstorm:  Save for Tsirang and Dagana, the Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan (RICBL) has completed paying rural insurance claims for all houses that reported minor to major damages from the April 4 windstorm.

The windstorm, which lasted for about 10 minutes, caused damage in 11 districts, although the disaster management department had initially stated nine districts in its preliminary reports.  During field assessments, RICBL officials said, two more districts, Haa and Bumthang, also reported damage.  About 10 houses in Gakiling, Haa and one in Bumthang reported damage from the windstorm.

Insurance claims for 873 houses across 11 districts have been estimated at about Nu 15 million.

RICBL officials said distribution of claims is ongoing in Tsirang and Dagana, and will be completed soon.  Records with RICBL show a total of 916 rural houses affected by the windstorm, of which 36 were not insured, while five houses were not eligible for compensation, given only minor damage being sustained.

Records with RICBL show 280 houses in Dagana were eligible for compensation, followed by 236 houses in Chukha, and 212 houses in Samtse.  The least number of insured houses were reported in Zhemgang, Mongar, and Trashigang.

Insurance for traditional rural houses is categorised into four schemes, of which the highest is Nu 300,000 and the lowest Nu 60,000.  RICBL’s rural household insurance scheme covers about 66,000 houses across the country.  As per the rural house insurance scheme guidelines, all claims have to be settled within a month from the date of registration of claims.  However, rural insurance is not mandatory for all villagers.

The disaster management department report, as of April 7, states that about 883 rural houses, 62 schools, eight health facilities, 21 lhakhangs and choetens, and 15 public infrastructures were damaged by the windstorm.  In all, 989 structures sustained damage, for which about 550 tarpaulin sheets were distributed, besides dignity kits.

Dagana was the worst hit, with the highest damage reported to rural houses and government structures, followed by Chukha and Samtse.  Renovation work on government structures, like schools, hostels, and health facilities in all affected districts, began almost immediately after the windstorm.

Meanwhile, a second windstorm hit Samtse in less than a fortnight after the April 4 one, damaging 66 structures, including a school, government offices, and houses in Norbugang, Ugyentse, Yoseltse, Dorokha, and Sangacholing gewogs on April 18.

RICBL rural insurance head, Karma Dorji said the field assessment of the affected gewogs has been completed. “We should be able to distribute the claims from next week,” he said.

By Kinga Dema