PM assures victims of national solidarity with their plight

Tshering Palden

Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley, with officials from the Gyalpoi Zimpon’s office and MPs of the eastern dzongkhags, walked for more than six hours yesterday visiting Drametse, Narang and Yangneer gewogs in Mongar and Trashigang dzongkhags, the areas most affected by the September 21 earthquake.

“We all grieve with you, from His Majesty to every other citizen in this country,” said Lyonchhoen, as he went from village to village meeting and consoling those who had lost homes and loved ones and assessing the extent of the damage.

He said that, while the His Majesty has commanded the government to do all it can, people should not wait for help from the government alone. “It’s the responsibility of each of us to protect and rebuild our homes if damaged,” he said, assuring that the government, on its part, would do its best to render all possible help to the most deserving people.

In Drametse, the team visited three houses in the town area that had suffered extensive damage. Most of the 15 houses in Drametse town have developed cracks, including the Drametse lhakhang. Most of the people were staying in tents outside their homes.

In Narang gewog, the epicentre of the quake and a three-hour walk from Drametse, the team attended the cremation of five people in an open maize field, including two minors, who were killed in the quake. “We mustn’t lose hope and stay idle. Instead, we have to help each other and rise from this situation with strong determination,” the PM said to the small gathering at Narang.

He also conveyed that His Majesty the King would personally visit the affected areas.

56 homes in all have been damaged beyond repair and 178 have developed cracks and are partially damaged in Narang. The gewog’s BHU and community school have been totally damaged. RBA personnel, who arrived the next day, started building temporary sheds for the affected people.

The team also visited Gomchu village, where a house collapsed and five structures were damaged.

In Trashigang, the team visited Durung village in Yangneer, where a woman was killed and 14 houses, five lhakhangs and five chortens have collapsed and the Yangneer monastery damaged.

Ugyen Tenzin from Du- rung said they were thankful for the semso and the material support delivered to them. Families were issued tarpaulin sheets and family kits as a temporary relief measure on royal command. The RBA has built seven sheds in Narang and 18 in the worst affected areas in Durung. Families, who lost their loved ones, also received semso from the King and the Cabinet.

Soldiers, deployed to help civilians affected by the re- cent earthquake, continue to build temporary shelters, take food and medicines and assist families in carrying out funerals rites of those killed by the earthquake.

According to Zimpon Wogma Karma Thinley, additional reinforcement of some 45 soldiers had to be sent to Narang and Thangrong, the two gewogs where damage has been maximum. A total of 23 homes, a community lhakhangs, and a community school in Thangrong have been badly damaged. The RBA personnel are building a shed to move the statues of the Thangrong community lhakhang.

The team today will visit Udzorong, Sherubtse College, Pemagatsel, Trashiyangtse, and Lhuentse in the next three days before returning to Thimphu.