Thinley Namgay

Cyclone Amphan, which originated in the Bay of Bengal, has caused havoc in the highlands of Thimphu with freak weather killing numerous cattle in three gewogs of Soe, Naro and Lingzhi.

Heavy rain, windstorm and snowfall led to the death of 23 heads of cattle like yaks, horses and mule. Lingzhi recorded the highest death toll with 16, whereas Soe and Naro reported six and one respectively.

Lingzhi gup Wangdi said the weather became harsh between May 20 and May 22 in Lingzhi, Soe and Naro. “Some animals couldn’t withstand the extreme cold, which is unusual,” he said.

Upon request from the dzongkhag administration, gups have submitted reports to the dzongkhag.

According to gup Wangdi, rearing cattle is the main source of livelihood in his gewog. “A single yak cost a minimum of Nu 80,000, more than Nu 50,000 for a milking cow. A pure mule costs around Nu 120,000,” he said.

Highlanders of Thimphu buy cattle from Paro, Bumthang, Merak and Sakteng. However, owing to the harsh winter, people of Lingzhi, Soe and Naro don’t rare sheep and goat. “Compared with the past, the nomadic way of life has changed, but some herders still have 120 animals including yaks,” said Wangdi.

Local leaders of these three highland gewogs said that there were no reports of crop damages due to the negligible agricultural practices.

Other five gewogs of the dzongkhag- Dagala, Chang, Mewang, Kawang, and Genekha have not reported any casualties despite incessant rainfall.

Unlike Lingzhi, Soe and Naro, villagers of these five gewogs have been busy with vegetable cultivation according to gewog officials.

For some gewogs, the rain, without causing damage, has come at a right time. Gups said the timely rain would help the villagers to carry out paddy cultivation.

Paddy cultivation has started in Ramtokto in Chang gewog since last week. Kawang gup Thukten Wangchuk said paddy transplantation in his gewog would start from next week.