Lhakpa Quendren

GELEPHU — In the late hours of July 11, the Shetikhari stream in Gelephu experienced a significant rise in water levels due to incessant rainfall, leading to gravel erosion in nearby villages.

The swollen stream also inflicted damage on the culvert along the Gelephu-Trongsa highway, necessitating repair work by the Gelephu Regional Department of Surface Transport.

Gelephu Gup Prem Prasad Katel expressed concern over the restless night endured by the residents of Pelrithang Khamaed as the surging stream began seeping into village homes.

“During the midnight hours, we were helpless. But the situations were closely monitored by me and the locals and I promptly informed the dzongkhag early in the morning,” he said.

No casualties were reported, however, some belongings and cattle fodder suffered damage due to the water.

Two households required rescue and relocation to safer dwellings due to the potential risks posed by the flood, while an additional five houses remain at high risk.

In response to the emergency situation, the Gelephu Gewog and Sarpang Dzongkhag Administration swiftly deployed three excavators to dredge the river as an urgent and temporary measure to mitigate the risks.

“The situation is now under control, but it is not entirely secure. Given the intensity of the rainfall, anything can happen at any time. We have alerted residents and are closely monitoring the situation with relevant officials,” said Prem Prasad Katel.

The heavy rainfall in the region also resulted in multiple roadblocks.

The Boxcut section, located 15 kilometres from Gelephu on the Trongsa-Gelephu highway, remained impassable due to continuous rainfall impeding clearance efforts.

Similarly, the roadblock at Panchpally, situated between Aiebridge and Taraythang, remained closed as the temporary culvert was washed away by relentless rainfall.

Furthermore, the Tingtibi-Panbang highway had to be closed to traffic due to two major roadblocks at Panthang and Praling, located 52.09 kilometres and 34 kilometres, respectively, from Tingtibi towards Panbang in Zhemgang.

According to the Regional Office of the Department of Surface Transport at Tingtibi, a flash flood caused a blockage in the rock-filled culvert at Pantang, and the formation width has been completely washed away at the Praling site.

Despite efforts with a chain excavator and JCB, continuous rainfall and falling boulders are impeding the progress of restoration work.

As the affected regions grapple with the aftermath of flash floods and roadblocks, authorities remain vigilant, closely monitoring the situation and taking necessary measures to ensure the safety of residents and travellers.