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Fragile: A portion of the Dorokha-Samtse road comes off as water from yesterday’s rainfall flows onto the road
Fragile: A portion of the Dorokha-Samtse road comes off as water from yesterday’s rainfall flows onto the road

Heavy rains cause damage and claim two lives

A 65-year-old woman and her grand daughter,11, in Damphuchen village, Dorokha were buried alive when landslide hit their house and washed it away.

The incident occurred at 7 am yesterday following heavy rainfall on the night of June 24 and yesterday morning. Dorokha drungkhag disaster team led by the drungpa, police, and local leaders and volunteers recovered the bodies.

Dorokha drungpa Karma Jurmi said the house was carried away more than 120 metres. The family also lost a cow in the landslide. Drungpa Karma Jurmi said that everyone in the drungkhag was alerted of the impending weather conditions and likely heavy rainfall. Schools would remain open today but the school managements have been asked to stay vigilant, he said.

Karma Jurmi also said that Dorokha road between Dorokha and Halhaley were damaged at several points, but were open to traffic. Samtse dzongkhag planning officer Tashi said that Dorokha was the most affected in Samtse.

“No damages to infrastructure were reported,” he said. “Bridges are all intact.”

Phuentsholing

The heavy downpour exposed the poor drainage system in Phuentsholing as floodwater entered homes and businesses.

A building owner at Kabreytar, Kamal, along with his tenants, was busy cleaning the courtyard filled with water and debris yesterday afternoon.

“We are working since 3am,” he said.  “It was the poor drainage system. 

Storm drains were dry while the water was all over the places.”

Kamal said that the drainage system’s inlet and outlet opening were not appropriate and needed to be changed.

In Toorsa, an automobile workshop was affected by overflowing water from storm drains. Water was still entering the workshop at 10am yesterday. An excavator was used to divert the flow of the water.

Its owner Wangdi Tshering said the water was at waist level in the early morning. “A proper drainage system should be the priority,” he said.

Wangdi Tshering said he had informed a thromde engineer several times in the past and requested to do something. But the engineer never came, he added.

The police siren team, which alerted the entire town early yesterday, helped people in prone areas along the Toorsa embankment and Kabreytar to evacuate to safer grounds. However, there were no casualties.

Meanwhile, about 100 truckloads of boulders belonging to Yangkhil construction was washed away by the swollen Toorsa. The company’s excavator machine was also under water, its owner Sithar Dorji said. Two more excavators of Jabab construction were under water. The machines were hired by another company.

Roadblocks at Jumja and Kamji were cleared in the evening.

 

Gelephu

Multiple roadblocks including four major blocks struck the Sarpang-Gelephu-Zhemgang highways yesterday following heavy rainfall the previous night.

The 100m reinforced concrete cement (RCC) bridge along the Gelephu-Sarpang highway near the domestic airport suffered extensive damage as the stream swelled. The incident happened around 2:30am yesterday.

 The 100ms RCC bridge after the flood
The 100ms RCC bridge after the flood

Several passenger buses and other vehicles were stranded on either sides of the highway for hours. A temporary bypass road was opened below the bridge after the water level subsided around 9am.

Major blockages were reported from the landslide prone areas – Aie-slip, Box-cut and Ossey stretch.

According to Department of Roads (DoR) officials in Sarpang, traffic reopened at Aie-slip (8km from Gelephu towards Shershong gewog) and at Box-cut area (15km from Gelephu towards Zhemgang) around noon. The newly cut bypass road in Ossey suffered a minor block, according to officials.

However, some 100ms of formation width was completely washed away at kilometer 28.2 from Gelephu towards Zhemgang. Men and machines have been deployed at the site to clear the road, said an official. As of 5pm yesterday, the stretch remained blocked.

The increase in the water level at Mao khola washed away about 6,000 truckloads of riverbed materials worth about Nu 50 million. Three of its main tributaries – Shetikhar, Dawla and Passangchu streams also swelled causing minor damages to infrastructure along its path.

The embankment holding the temporary bailey bridge over Passangchu suffered some damages. The areas adjacent to the embankment had collapsed. DoR officials said that the river underneath was channelised to prevent the water from hitting the embankment.

A small portion of the road below the Gelephu gewog centre was also washed away as a result of swelling of the Dawla stream.

Meanwhile, flood debris flooded the area near the Bhutan Oil Distributors (BOD) in Sarpang. According to officials although no damage to properties and life were reported, some five households in the area were affected. “Prior information about the disaster helped us deploy immediate help. Otherwise, there could have been more damages,” said a gewog official.

Rajesh Rai | P/ling and Younten Tshedup | Gelephu

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