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T/gang Dzongkhag to reinforce safety measures against flashflood

Increasing the height of the flood protection wall alongside the Mithimdrang stream and measures to increase the height of the bridge over the protection wall in Trashigang town are some provisions the Trashigang district administration is looking into to avert damages should a similar flashflood to that of the evening of July 22 occur in the future.

The flashflood from the swollen Mithimdrang stream on July 22 washed away a wooden cantilever bridge, covered some part of the vegetable market, including two huts and the children’s park, in muck. Apart from stranding four vehicles, the bridge over the flood protection wall was also covered in muck, thus cutting off traffic in the town. It had also left deep muck and debris accumulated on both sides of the stream.

However, no other major damages were reported during the incident and this was attributed to the recently completed Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) flood protection wall. The 266-meter-long flood protection wall was only completed last year.

Trashigang Dzongdag Chekey Gyeltshen said, “If there was no flood protection wall, the lower market would have been completely washed off by the flashflood.”

He said the completion of RCC wall along the stream on time has helped in protecting the town.

“With the help of flood protection wall no major damages were reported. Without such flood protection measures, the flashflood of 1994 had a record of causing major damages to the residents and the town,” he added.

The Dzongdag said for the future safety of the residents, the Dzongkhag is planning to come up with safety measures.

“We will increase the height of the flood protection wall alongside the stream and we are also studying measures to increase the height of the bridge,” he said, adding that the district administration office is also planning to install a siren system to alert the public at the time of such disasters.

Trashigang residents, however, say that Mithimdrang stream has a history of such flashfloods.

“It happened in the past too. We the residents living alongside the stream would be grateful if the Dzongkhag can come up with other safety measures against such flood disasters,” said a resident, Samten.

Meanwhile, machines and volunteers started clearing the muck and debris since Monday. However, officials say that it would at least take about two months to clear all the debris.

The flashflood in Trashigang occurred around 7:13 pm on the evening of July 22.

Jigme Wangchen from T/gang