Windstorm and rain affects paddy harvest

Minor damage on structures reported in the east

Disaster: Heavy rainfall and windstorm on the October 13 evening that lasted for an hour damaged paddy harvest and blew away roofs in several parts of the country.

While gewog officials were still compiling reports as of yesterday evening, Kuensel learnt that some parts of the eastern and western dzongkhags were affected where paddy harvest has begun in most gewogs.

A total of 16.41 acres of paddy and 11.78 acres of maize fields belonging to 37 households were damaged by a windstorm in Chali gewog, Mongar. Roofs of four houses were also blown away. Of the four houses, two were two-storied structures in Tsakaling and Chali gewogs and another single storied in Balam gewog.

A farmer of Chali gewog Sonam, 41, said that the roof of his house was completely blown away by the windstorm. “I was away for work while my family were inside the house when the incident occurred,” he said.

Tsamang gewog’s Kuling village tshogpa Sherab Gyeltshen said that all five households in the village were affected. “More than four acres of harvested paddy and maize suffered severe damages following the windstorm,” the tshogpa said.

Lhuentse also reported minor damages to paddy. However, no casualties were reported in both the dzongkhags. Lhuentse dzongkhag officials said that they are still assessing the damages and compiling the report.

Officials of the Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan’s branch office in Mongar were working on the insurance of the houses where the roofs were either partially or fully blown away.

Some parts of Trashiyangtse also reported damages to paddy fields where paddy harvest have begun in some of the gewogs.

Bumdeling gewog’s agriculture extension officer Ugyen Tenzin said that the dzongkhag officials including the dzongdag visted the affected 21 households yesterday. About 21 households were affected in Bumdeling where paddy fields belonging to five households were damaged severely.

“A few villagers started harvesting while most are yet to start,” Ugyen Tenzin said, adding the extension office would be comparing last year’s harvest and this year’s following the damage.

With the paddy harvest season in full swing in the western dzongkhags of Paro, Punakha and Wangdue, heavy rainfall followed by hailstorm since October 12 affected several gewogs in the three dzongkhag.

Some parts of Paro reported minor damages to paddy with the harvest drenched in rain.

However, the dzongkhag agriculture officer is yet to receive any damage report. “We haven’t received anything as of now,” he said yesterday evening.

Chukha chiwog’s tshogpa Gyem Dorji said that the dzongkhag experienced rainfall for the past three days that affected paddy harvest especially in lower Paro.

“We’ve verbally informed the gewog extension officer,” Gyem Dorji said.

For now farmers are only hoping for the weather to improve. Should the rainfall continue, farmer said it would affect their harvest this year.

“If it doesn’t rain, the drenched harvested paddy left in the fields would dry but if it rains again, then the paddy would start to rot,” Tshewang from Bondey said.

Similarly in Punakha and Wangdue, some parts of the gewogs reported damages to paddy harvest following a hailstorm for about 30 minutes on October 13.

Wangdue’s dzongkhag agriculture officer Sonam Zangpo said that three gewogs of Jena, Phangyul and Nahi were affected.

Sonam Zangpo said that Ngawang chiwog in Jena gewog was first hit by a hailstorm on Sunday followed by October 13 that flattened paddy that was not harvested.

Sonam Zangpo said that 12 of the 15 gewogs in the dzongkhag cultivate paddy. “While some have begun harvesting, most are yet to start,” he said.

Nahi gup Karpo Dorji said that besides harvested paddy, the hailstorm damaged several paddy fields yet to be harvested.

No casualties or damage to houses were reported in both the dzongkhags.

Tashi Phuntsho in Mongar and Kinga Dema

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