Flash flood causes major damage in Punatsangchhu

August 8 | Kuensel
By Tashi Dema

A flash flood from Phangdurongchu in Jarigang, Wangduephodrang on the night of August 6 caused massive damages in the locality.

Sources in Wangduephodrang say the flash flood caused the small stream to swell around 9:30pm and brought a lot of debris, which partially blocked the main course of Punatsangchhu and diverted the river to the highway.

With about 700mts of the Tsirang-Wangdue highway completely submerged under Punatsangchhu between Zawakha and Kamichu, the road is closed for traffic.

The swollen Punatsangchhu then washed away a closed body truck ferrying four labourers working for Punatsangchhu II Hydroelectric Project Authority (PHPA-II), damaged a light vehicle, a boomer truck and a water tanker belonging to JayPee Group. It also damaged a Pulsar bike belonging to Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park.

It damaged a store of Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) containing electronic and mechanical components worth 7.5 billion and a fabrication house of JayPee.

The managing director of PHPA-II, Amresh Kumar, said they have mobilised resources to look for the missing labourers, restore the highway and the materials.

The Phandurongchu damaged a two-storied traditional house in Jarigang and washed away the Athang gewog centre road and the bridge culvert at Jarigang.

Department of Roads (DoR) and Wangduephodrang dzongkhag officials say it would take about three days to open the road for traffic. Officials say three excavators and a JCB were deployed since yesterday to clear the debris.

The dzongkhag disaster management officer, Jamyang Chojay, said works would resume today to clear the debris that formed an artificial lake and diverted the Punatsangchhu to the highway.

He said the disaster management unit issued emergency family kits and tarpaulin to the victims in Jarigang and handed over His Majesty’s semso. “We have also informed RICBL to assess and provide insurance.”

Cause

While it is not still clear what caused the flashflood, dzongkhag officials and local residents believe that rain formed an artificial lake upstream, which burst because of heavy rain on the night of August 6.

Sources said the stream is usually a small one flowing from a source above Jarigang village and it would not be able to cause such damages.

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Aftermath: The BHEL store damaged by the flashflood
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