Multiple flash floods including three major blocks along the Trashigang-Rangjung highway have cut off all traffic flow along the route since August 1.
A flash flood at Buna, about 12.5kms from Trashigang towards Rangjung, has completely washed away the road along the stretch.
According to local residents, the Buna stream suddenly swelled between 8-9pm following heavy rainfall in the area. “It has been raining here for more than a week now but that night the rain was unusually heavy,” a farmer said.
Another farmer, Chedup, lost about 1.7 acres of his paddy field to the flash flood. “I was at home when the stream suddenly swelled,” he said. “I immediately ran near the stream fearing that it would damage my crops which is located just below the stream.”
The 56-year-old said that by the time he reached near the stream, most of his paddy field was already covered in muck. “There was no way I could go near my crops and block the water. Few minutes later, my entire field was covered as I watched helplessly from the road above.”
Chedup is the sole breadwinner in his family of eight. “This land was the only source of income for my family. I’m not sure how we would survive now,” he said. “It is discouraging to see your hard work being washed away right in front of your own eyes.”
Another flash flood at Dramang, about 11kms from Trashigang towards Rangjung has washed away a semi-commercial poultry farm including the road in the area.
Residents said that a major flood occurred in the same place some 25 years ago. “Every monsoon we receive heavy rainfall but this time it was different,” said a farmer. “There was a loud roar after which everything along the way was completely washed away.”
The owner of the poultry farm, Nima Tshering, said he had alerted night guards of the impending danger following the continuous rainfall.
“However, it was too late to relocate the coops and other equipment that I had at the farm.”
The flash flood washed away three wooden structures including rice and corn mills. Around 400 pullets were also killed in the incident. Nima Tshering said that he lost around Nu 0.5 million worth of properties during the incident.
Another farmer from Radhi, Sangay Tenzin, said that the authorities concerned failed to provide an immediate response. “There were passenger buses stuck in the block but the response team arrived very late at the scene,” he said. “If such practices continue in the future, there could be casualties due to lack of immediate response.”
Officials from the Department of Roads (DoR) in Trashigang said after receiving the news they had sent men and machines at the site to clear the blocks immediately.
A passenger bus en-route to Radhi was sent back to Trashigang from Lungtenzampa after clearing the minor blocks in the area on August 1.
DoR officials said the traffic is expected to open towards 7pm yesterday provided there is no rainfall.
Younten Tshedup | Rangjung