NHDCL says tenants had no insurance on damaged properties, while victims wait for any kind of compensation
Heavy rainfall in the second week of July, which triggered flash floods in the early morning of July 13, affected five buildings and 10 tenants of the National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) in Phuentsholing. While those affected are living on expectations that they will be compensated, NHDCL says that nothing can be given as the affected ones had no insurance on the properties that were lost.
The heavy monsoon rain made streams above the NHDCL swell. It flooded and entered the ground floors of NHDCL buildings, destroying tenants’ properties, like washing machines, refrigerators, television sets, and furniture, including household items and clothes.
Phuntsho Om living in NRDCL’s SB13 building, on the ground floor, could not recover any of her properties as everything was submerged. She said that her family lost belongings worth about Nu 0.3 million and at the time of the incident was worried that they would be relocated. With five family members, she said that adjusting elsewhere would be difficult and that they needed a separate house. Belonging to a low-income group, Phuntsho Om expressed concerns if the family would be compensated or not.
Similarly, the family of Amrita Moktan, who lived in Flat 1, SB13 was one of the worst affected. She could not save anything from the flood. “We could save only the clothes we were wearing,” she said, adding her family is unsure if concerned agencies will compensate.
Tshering Pemo, another victim also lost almost everything, which included a television, washing machine, showcase, dressing mirror, floor carpet, and furniture. She said no one has mentioned compensating for the damaged properties.
Meanwhile, the chief executive officer (CEO) of NHDCL, Rinchen Wangdi said, “Since the properties are not insured, tenants will not be able to make claims from the insurance companies.”
The CEO said that Phuentsholing is currently recovering from the shock. About three households have gone back to their respective buildings while some are now being relocated to the old NHDCL regional office. “They will be staying there with no rent and other charges (electricity and water) until the repair works are over,” the CEO said.
Phuentsholing Thromde provided the essential items and meals when they were relocated to the school. Later, when being shifted to the old regional office, they were also provided rations. Chukha Dzongdag provided Semsoo to all the tenants, while Dungkhag provided emergency kits. NHDCL helped to coordinate all the relief measures.
The CEO also added that it will take a coordinated effort from all the sectors to address and put mitigation measures. One round of consultation meetings has already been carried out. The next meeting will be held in the month of October to plan for a permanent measure, which will be in place before the onset of the next monsoon.
Meanwhile, the tenants are not aware of insurance claims. Neither is there a household item insurance policy. They still live with the hope that they would be compensated.
Phuntsho Om said that affected families are from the low-salaried groups and that it is difficult to manage and buy new items or repair the damaged ones. “We were hoping that concerned authorities will compensate us,” she said.
Another victim, Tandin Wangmo said no one had informed them about anything related to the damaged properties.
During the flood, the belongings of six tenants were all damaged and NHDCL had submitted details of damages to the Dungkhag office.
However, the value of the damaged properties has not been assessed, as per information from the office of NHDCL.
Sangay Rabten from Thimphu