Neten Dorji | Trashigang

For the past three months, Ngawang Dorji, a resident in Trashigang town, has been on high alert. Every time it rains he panics. What worries him more is the uncertainty of a flash flood or the Mithidrangchhu flooding that could inundate his house or wash it away entirely.

The moment it begins to pour heavily, residents are on high alert and frequently move out of their homes to check on Mithidrangchhu which flows right through the middle of the town.

“During monsoon, people cannot sleep in peace due to fear of losing life and properties to the flood. It is not only me, many residents along the stream are terrified,” he said.

Another resident, Wangchuk has the stream flowing below his shop. “I haven’t been able to sleep well for the past few days since it was raining. I do not know when the floods will enter the settlement and sweep away houses.”

He said when it rains heavily in high mountains the stream swells and causes flash floods in low areas.

Residents said that an early flood warning system can help ease their troubles.

“The retaining wall saved us from flash floods in 2018, but we are not safe,” said a resident.

Rangshikhar residents passed on information about floods to residents in Trashigang. “If we do not get information on time, our lives will lose to floods. A retaining wall was built to protect us, but we can not trust the wall,” said a shopkeeper.”

“The height of the bridge over the stream also needs to be raised as the logs and debris get stuck under it,” another resident said.

Thromde Ngotshab, Sonam Dorji said, “The early warning system would provide ample time for all to make necessary preparations for disasters.”

However, municipal officials said that they do not have any plan to install flood warning sirens as it has to route through the Department of Hydro-Meteorological Service.