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Windstorm damages 792 homes

Dagana was the worst hit among the nine dzongkhags

Disaster: The windstorm that swept across nine dzongkhags on the night of April 4 injured three people and affected 792 households, mostly in the southern belt, according to a preliminary report with the department of disaster management.

All dzongkhags also reported damages to about 92 structures belonging to the culture, health and education ministries.  A cow in Goshing, Dagana and four calves in Chudzom, Sarpang were killed.  The report states that, of the three injured persons, one was in Dagana, while two were from Darla gewog in Chukha.  The one in Dagana, who was hospitalised, is recovering.

Of the nine dzongkhags, Dagana was hit hardest, followed by Chukha, Samtse, Pemagatshel, Tsirang and Samdrupjongkhar.  The least damages were reported in Sarpang, Zhemgang and Trashigang.  The southern districts also experienced heavy hailstorms.

Dagana

The district reported damage to about 310 households and about 30 government structures in seven gewogs.  The damaged structures include schools, army camps, health and agriculture extension offices, besides the gup’s office and meeting hall in Dorona gewog.

Dagana dzongda Tenzin Thinley said that the dzongkhag had distributed tarpaulin sheets to the affected.

“The dzongkhag team is already on the way to the affected villages in seven gewogs to assess damages,” he said.

Following the windstorm, Dagana, Sarpang and Tsirang have been facing frequent power cuts.

 Tsirang and Sarpang

Rangthaling Gup office, Tsirang

Tsirang reported damage to about 43 houses, while roofs of Damphu hospital and the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) warehouse were blown off.  Most structures in Tsirang had their roofs ripped off by the windstorm that lasted for about 10 minutes.

FCB manager Sonam Dema said the rain that followed the windstorm damaged most of the rations stocked in the warehouse. “We couldn’t go out to check, because of the wind and rain,” she said. “We’re yet to assess the damage.”

A shopkeeper in Tsirang yesterday, who was found cleaning the debris the rain washed into her house, said her family stayed up the whole night fearing further damage. “We had to shift the stock in my shop to another room to prevent it from getting drenched,” she said.

In Sarpang, one household reported its roof being blown off, while four calves in Chudzom were killed.

 Chukha and Samtse

 

A damaged house in Meretsemo, Bongo

About 200 households and 28 government structures in Chukha including schools, outreach clinics and lhakhangs reported damages.  In Phuentsholing thromde, the windstorm brought down the concrete walls of the Hyundai showroom and the fencing of Damchen Petroleum.  Five new Hyundai cars were also damaged, when a roof from an adjacent workshop landed on the vehicles.

In all, eight of the 11 gewogs in Chukha reported partially or fully damaged structures.  Besides damage to the outreach clinic and solar panels, the roof of the gup’s office in Getena gewog was also blown away.  Two persons were also injured in Darla gewog.  Bongo gewog also reported damage to crops like potatoes, wheat, and cardamom, besides frequent power cuts.

Samtse reported damage to about 160 households and 21 schools and the ECR.  The Dorokha basic health unit and Tading outreach clinic, along with two lhakhangs and a chorten, were also damaged.  Among the eight affected gewogs, Tading reported damage to 79 households, and Dorokha to 27, followed by 26 households in Pemaling and eight in Norbugang.

Officials of the two dzongkhags were still assessing the damage, as of yesterday night.

A dzongkhag official in Samtse, Karma Yangzom, said the affected include houses and institutions, as well as sheds and makeshift houses.  In terms of severity, two schools – Shengden and Panbari primary schools – were the worst hit.  The roofs of the hostel and some classrooms have been completely blown off, while some parts of Panbari primary school were damaged.

“Two teams from the dzongkhag have gone to the site with tents,” Karma Yangzom said, so that the schools can continue classes without any disturbances. “No casualties have been reported.”

Dzongkhag officials said they were still compiling data on damage to crops and livestock.  Places, like Mechetar, Sipsu and Tendu, reported power cuts, which made it difficult to contact officials and report on damages.

Six families at the RBP colony in Phuentsholing were left roofless

In Phuentsholing, a woman was referred to Thimphu hospital after a tree hit her while she was on her way home in Dhamdara.  The police colony was severely affected, with roofs of about six houses completely blown off.

Police personnel Kinga Jamtsho and his family  narrowly  escaped, when a huge piece of concrete from the roof of an adjacent house fell in the room they were sleeping in.  Kinga Jamtsho escaped with a minor cut on his wrist.  The house suffered huge cracks on the wall.

Although no casualties were reported from Samtse and Phuentsholing, people had horrifying tales to tell.  Some private vehicles were also damaged in the windstorm.

Phuentsholing thrompon Tsheten Dorji said the thromde team was compiling reports, demkhong wise. “We’ll have the actual number of houses and properties affected by today,’” he said.

Following the windstorm, about 60 percent of residents in the thromde are facing water shortage, while the town is in a mess, with concrete walls, trees, and government signboards strewn all over.

 Pemagatshel and Samdrupjongkhar

Preliminary reports show that about 46 households in six gewogs of Pemagatshel were affected, while the dzongkhag didn’t report any damage to other structures, as of last evening.  Of the 46 houses, major damages were reported to three structures.  Khar gewog was hit worst, with 23 households, six in Chongshing, 10 in Shumar and one household each in Zobel, Yurung and Dungmin affected.

Although dzongkhags officials are still assessing the trail of damage left by the windstorm, roofs of about 23 houses were reportedly blown off, while seven structures were severely damaged in four gewogs of Samdrupjongkhar.  The most affected gewogs is Orong, where 11 houses reported damage.  Of the 11, seven major damages were reported from five households each in Wangphu and Mertshala and two houses in Gomdar.

Gewog officials said all affected families were evacuated and provided tarpaulins as temporary measure.  All houses are insured, according to the report.  No casualties were reported in both the dzongkhags.

Pemagatshel dzongkhag has also ordered for more tarpaulins to be distributed to the affected.

Additional reporting Rajesh Rai from P/ling; Yeshey Dema from Tsirang; Yangchen C Rinzin from S/Jongkhar

By Kinga Dema

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