Quake damage toll rises in Bhutan

The earthquake damage toll in the country, especially in the eastern dzongkhags, has risen. The death toll in Mongar, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Lhuentse and Samdrup Jongkhar has increased to 13.

Reports from the east say many people are moving to safer places out in the open. The details of damages are sketchy owing to large affected areas and difficult terrain. Assessment is underway, according to the field personnel deployed to assess the extent of damage and support the people affected by the earthquake need.

“Dzongkhag administration officials are out in the villages assessing the magnitude of the damages. It could take a day or two to compile a comprehensive report,” said the Trashiyangtse Dzongda.

The latest damage figures stand at 1,805 houses, 116 lhakhangs, 165 chortens, 39 schools and 47 government offices. Figures are expected to increase as assessment teams reach the far-flung villages.

Armed forces from two the eastern RBA wings of Yonphula in Trashigang and Dewathang in Samdrup Jongkhar have been mobilized and stationed in the worst affected areas of Mongar, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse and Pemagatshel.

The Gyalpoi Zimpoen’s team in the field told Observer that armed forces personnel are providing physical support like building temporary sheds for people whose houses have been completely damaged, salvaging household items and lhakhang nangtens, and delivering rations.

Besides material support, the relief team also offered emotional and moral support.

The team visited the injured and bereaved families in Mongar and Trashignag and offered His Majesty’s semso to them. His Majesty and the government granted monetary semso to the bereaved families and assured the people of continued support from the government and His Majesty’s secretariat. Essential medical care is also being provided in the areas in coordination with the dzongkhag.

The dzongdas also granted a semso of Nu 10,000 to the families of the deceased wherever the education minister could not reach. They have been directed by the Home Ministry to provide life insurance as an advance to the bereaved families.

“The situation is under control in most of the places,” said the zimpoen’s team. The Prime Minister yesterday was in Narang in Mongar, the worst affected place in the dzongkhag.

Amid fear of aftershocks, there have been reported cases of religious personalities predicting another earthquake of a bigger magnitude. Such predictions have reportedly left people sleepless and perturbed nationwide.

“A Rinpoche predicted that a massive earthquake will strike us anytime soon,” said a father of four, Tashi, from Trahigang town, who hasn’t slept for two nights. Meanwhile, rabdey monks are offering prayers for the victims. An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale struck Bhutan at around 3 pm on September 21.

Report of damages as of yesterday morning

Mongar Trashigang Samdrup Jongkhar Tashi Yangtse Pema Gatshel Lhuentse
Houses 682 784 10 220 68 41
Lhakhangs 32 63 3 6 1 11
Government Infrastructure 11 34 0 0 0 2
Chortens 77 78 0 10 0 0
Schools 15 17 2 0 1 4
Death 6 3 4 0 0 0
Injured 13 9 0 0 3 0

By Jigme Wangchuk and Sonam Pelden
Source: Bhutan Observer

Leave a Reply