… three injured in the flood discharged

Neten Dorji | Lhuentse 

As Druk Green Power Corporation begins clearing debris at the campsite in Ungar village in Lhuentse, families and relatives of victims wait for news on the missing bodies. 

The victims included Druk Green Power Corporation employees like work supervisor, section officer, surveyors, machine operators, electricians, and plumbers.  

Seven bodies have been recovered and 16 are still missing as of yesterday evening. The three people who suffered injuries were discharged from Lhuentse dzongkhag hospital on Saturday.

One of the victim’s relatives said that they came all the way from Chukha to search for the missing body. “We came here to search for our relative’s missing body along with the rescue team,” the female relative said. “We are not really confident to find  missing bodies looking at the magnitude of the flash flood.”

DGPC starts clearing debris

Another relative said it is challenging to find missing bodies since boulders and mud have covered the entire place.

“There is no possibility of finding anybody. However, we will wait here for four days,” said a relative who arrived on Friday morning.

Other family members said they rushed to the site on Thursday night.

“Now we had given up our hope to get a missing body,” said one. “People were telling us that our relatives’ bodies might have been buried and become pieces.”

Of 23, the three families lost their entire family while others lost husband, father, wife and children. “Most of the wives and children including an eight-month baby came here for vacation,” said one. “Seven were wives, eight were husbands, and seven were children.”

Search teams found six bodies on the first day of search, and one more was recovered on Saturday before the search was called off.

An official from the search operation said that teams have diverted the flow of a nearby river to look for bodies. “There is nothing left there. But the search will continue until all bodies are found. Our priority is to find the missing bodies,” he said.

According to him, 40 more individuals trained in search and rescue from various hydropower plants were deployed yesterday.

Machinery like excavators, air compressors, bumping machines, rod bending and  other machines were lost to the flood. The eight private light vehicles were also damaged.

“We could not say the exact worth of machines we lost to floods as officials of Royal Insurance Corporation Limited (RICBL) are assessing the losses,” said an official.

The cause of the flash flood is yet to be ascertained.

Meanwhile, villagers say there was an early signal of disasters in the village.

“Before the disaster, there was a warning signal of raining and lightning strikes,” said Cheki Mo, 67. “I have never experienced such a disaster in my life.”