Of the incessant rain this week

The incessant rain for a continuous three days this week has wreaked havoc in many places across the country.

In Thimphu, the incessant downpour has once again exposed the flaws in the design and construction of our drainage system as water overflowed from the clogged drains and then onto the roads; submerging many parts of the road stretches. This is, therefore, a timely reminder for our town planners and engineers to right the wrongs to avert such a situation in the future.

And for many, the incessant rain had not only disrupted travel plans, but had also brought travelling to a halt in many places. Multiple roadblocks, mud slides and instances of falling boulders from above the roads have been reported from many parts of the country and concerned agencies such as the Royal Bhutan Police and the Department of Roads have also requested commuters not to schedule any travel for a few days.

Apart from the damages on paddy fields and roads, the swollen Amochhu, caused by the incessant rainfall this week, washed away 26 cattle from Bangaley village, Denchukha Gewog in Samtse on October 19.

Unfortunately, the major victims or the most affected by the incessant downpour this time were the paddy farmers of central and western regions.

Paddy farmers in these places have lost hope as the unseasonal rain has damaged the matured crops that were ready for harvest. It has also perhaps made their arduous hard work for a year futile. Paddies that were harvested and laid on the field to dry were drenched by the water. And in some fields in many places, excess water had entered the field and submerged the whole crops.

One thing for sure is that we could have averted the extent of the damages if we had paid heed to the weather advisory information announced by the National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology on October 17, stating that rainfall is likely over the country from October 18-20 because of the low pressure system and disturbance.

Going by the extent of the damages, it seems as if the paddy farmers in those affected places were caught off-guard and had little information about the coming rain. If this is the case, it also reflects the failure of our local government offices and leaders to share timely information with these farmers.

What has been done cannot be undone now, but what we can do now and in the future is to learn and take lessons from these incidents. We may have a little or no chance against the wrath or vagaries of nature, but a certain cautiousness with a bit of preparation would immensely help to avert the kind of destruction that we see happening to our farmers today.