The monsoon is here in its all forcefulness. In the kind of terrain we are in, it is a big deal.
Unlike in some places in the region, the monsoon comes to us both as a boon and bane. That’s probably why we do not celebrate its coming.
Being in the mountains, our roads become increasingly dangerous as the rains hit us hard. Landslides are already a common theme along the Bhutanese roads. Soon we will have to contend with flash floods.
As the news of accidents rises by the day, there is a need for us, particularly frequent travellers, to reflect on safety and precautions.
The problem is that no amount of awareness and advocacy seem to work. The police and the roads department are posting situations and updates along the highways; we read and then forget them almost instantly.
The monsoon is a critically important season in Bhutan, not just because of the amount of rain we get, but also, more significantly, because of the destruction and problems it brings to the people. If the farmers are happy, road users are not.
Some travel plans can be cancelled. Why not?
Rivers are swelling; we are constantly getting alert signals. When the monsoon comes forcing down on us, we immediately think about the communities along the major river systems in the country—Are they prepared? Are they safe?
Being in the heart of a difficult terrain in the Himalayas, the monsoon brings us many challenges. We are also all too familiar with earthquakes and flash floods that leave villages bare and poor. But they are not the only problems. Climate change is a very unique phenomenon that affects us in diverse ways. Its fickleness means that we can be caught off guard.
Facing such challenges ought not to be the government’s responsibility. The responsibility of securing one’s life falls on the individual. Accidents and deaths can be prevented.
So, as the monsoon hits us hard, we may do well to reflect on the dangers the season brings. Road travel in Bhutan is fraught with risks, particularly in summer. Precaution and care are the only things we can depend on.
Alert notices from the police and the roads department are now easily available and plan your travel accordingly.