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Monsoon havoc: Mendrelgang village lives in fear as landslides threaten homes

Residents of Mendrelgang village at Dechhenling Gewog in Pema Gatshel live in constant fear of their homes getting damaged by landslide as monsoon wreak havoc. The villagers say the land below the settlement started eroding since last year damaging their orange orchard and posing risks to lives. With no other options, they are now requesting authorities to relocate them to safer places.

A slope, almost a kilometre from the village started eroding since last year. Today, the situation has become quite severe.

The villagers suspect that the erosion was caused after the construction of farm road at the base of the slope.

Besides, the land above the village started developing cracks posing additional risks.

As a result, the residents say they live in fear that the entire settlement will get washed away if there is continuous rainfall.

“It is very risky now. We do not have other sources of income besides the orange orchard. There are risks of soil eroding towards the settlement,” said Sangay, a resident.

“We cannot even sleep well when there is heavy rainfall. In households with more family members, we take turn to sleep,” said Tempa Gyeltshen, another resident.

These are the cracks formed above their village. According to the villagers, the cracks are getting wider and deeper during rainy days.

Cracks started developing even on the walls of some of the houses due to soil erosion.

“We would be grateful if we are relocated to a safer place,” said Sangay Wangchuk, a resident.

“There is a chance of soil eroding from every direction. So, it will be better if we could be relocated to safer places,” said Shacha Dorji, another resident.

The Dungkhag Administration has written to the District Administration to assess the risks following reports from the gewog.  The Gup said assessment works will be carried out soon.

Jimba Phuntsho, Dechhenling Gup, PG (DZO)

“We are going to seek advice from the experts. We cannot take decisions right away.”

According to the villagers, the land was stable until last year.

Villagers said more than 20 acres of land belonging to around 15 households got eroded within two years and walls of three households started developing cracks.

Seven households are in severe risk areas, while the remaining are quite safe for now.

Thinley Dorji, Pema Gatshel

Edited by Phub Gyem