Trongsa town put on flood alert

A damaged drainage has raised landslide threat levels in parts of the township

Monsoon: Residents of Trongsa town have been put on alert after the areas below Chokhorling and those above Oyster hotel started cracking and sliding as rainwater gushed downstream from a damaged drainage.

The drainage had been built to drain overflow from municipal water tank and Ebthso (lake) near Chokhorling.

Over six residents from Thruepang town have also moved to safety to Sherubling by last evening fearing severe floods and landslides from the torrential rain that’s been pelting Trongsa for almost a week.

Except for a hut damaged by the slide in Chokhorling, no other evacuations have been made yet. “The residents have been asked to be vigilant at a disaster preparedness sensitisation meeting yesterday,” thromde thuemi, Karma Latho said.

The remains of the hut that was washed away

The remains of the hut that was washed away

Many places reported sliding in Trongsa

Many places reported sliding in Trongsa

The dzongkhag has also decided to place a patrol team in the town round the clock. “Patrol team of around 10 men grouped from police, desuups and community will keep constant guard over the town at night at least for few days,” Karma Latho said.

He said the water from the damaged drainage came gushing down, causing numerous cracks in areas above Oyster hotel.  The flooding has also caused slides in Chokhorling.

“The flooding also damaged a hut in Chokhorling, whose occupant, an elderly woman, was evacuated by the dzongkhag disaster team safely with her belongings,” Karma Latho said.

Kidu officer, Chencho Gyeltshen, said although no serious damages were reported as of last evening, the town was still far from safety.

“The town is at risk because of the chances of land sliding further from areas above Oyster hotel,” Chencho Gyeltshen said.

Meanwhile, the dzongkhag is still assessing additional damage from the rain, after two huts below Yangkhil resort and another one below the fuel depot were washed away on June 26.  No reports of damage or casualty have been reported yet.

“The dzongkhag is following up rigorously on additional damages from the heavy rainfall and earthquake,” Chencho Gyeltshen said.

The gyalpoi zimpon office has also issued corrugated galvanised iron sheets and tarpaulin to the affected families.  Relief kits were also distributed to these families.

The rainfall has also damaged 20m of the Trongsa-Zhemgang highway near the fuel depot.  The new truck parking, which is under construction, was also damaged.

Towards Thimphu, the downpour has also caused around 45 landslides between Trongsa and Tshangkha on June 28.

Department of roads chief executive engineer, Taugay Choedup, said the roadblocks have also stretched to Yotongla towards Bumthang.

“Although abundant labourers and machineries have been deployed in every blockades, the roads keeps getting blocked because of heavy rainfall,” he said.

The chief engineer also said that, with a chunk of road near the fuel depot washed away, some lorries ferrying heavy mechanical equipment for Mangdechu hydropower project (MHP) have been stranded in Bjezam.

Meanwhile, police, desuups, dzongkhag and the community have also diverted the Thruepangchu, which flows through the heart of Trongsa town, after it washed away around 10m of the palace’s wall. “The stream however poses no serious threat to the town or palace now,” Chencho Gyeltshen said.

Meanwhile, MHP, located little over a kilometre from Trongsa town, has suffered no damages from the rain. “Save for minor slides by the roads, no damage to any project components has been reported so far,” MHP joint managing director, Chencho Tshering, said.

Following continuous rainfall across the country since Saturday night, roadblocks were reported in several parts of the country.

Hundreds of vehicles were stranded in Phuentsholing with the Phuentsholing – Thimphu highway blocked at Sorochen and Kamji. Road Safety and Transport Authority officials said the block occurred around 7 am yesterday right after the earthquake. The block was cleared around 4 pm the same day. Officials said some commuters plied by the Phuentsholing- Pasakha bypass to avoid the block.

Similarly, commuters from central Bhutan towards Thimphu were stranded for few hours near Lobesa after landslides blocked traffic. “It was a risky ride with falling boulders at several locations,” a commuter, Kinlay said.

Road connectivity to Gasa was also severely affected. Gasa dzongdag Dorji Dhradhul said the first block occurred at Phuensumpang, the same place that was blocked for about a week due to a flash flood a month ago, and another one before reaching the dzong.

The dzongdag said that following the rainfall, the dzongkhag also experienced a power black out since June 27 around 11pm. “Bhutan Power Corporation officials said that they were still detecting the fault,” Dorji Dhradhul said.

Minor landslides were also reported at various locations along the Wangdue-Tsirang and Wangdue-Trongsa highway where falling boulders continue to occur at several locations.

Meanwhile, Dagana dzongkhag reported damages to three households in three gewogs with minor damages. Dzongda Tenzin Thinley said the walls of the house had either collapsed or suffered cracks. “No causalities were reported so far,” he said.

By Tempa Wangdi

Additional reporting by Kinga Dema,

Photos: Chencho Gyeltshen, Kidu officer, Trongsa

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