English | Dzongkha Thursday, July 19, 2018

Narang, a year after

Sep 22, 2010

It was on September 21 last year that Bhutan was hit by one of the worst natural disasters in recent memory. The earthquake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale took away 13 lives. Thousands were made homeless. And schools and religious monuments were also damaged, some beyond repair.

Remembering this day, BBS looks back to the aftermath of one of the worst hit areas, Narang Geog in Monggar.

People were preparing to celebrate a Losar, the Blessed Rainy Day or the Thruebab the next day. But their festive mood was dampened when the quake shook everything and took a different turn. From what was a time to rejoice and celebrate turned into a nightmare.

“I was preparing for the Blessed Rainy Day when suddenly everything was shaking. I was thrown away and couldn’t move. My family members and I escaped when my colleagues called from outside,” remembers one of the victims.

“I was testing my bow and arrow for an archery match for the Thruebab when the earthquake struck, I immediately ran out of the house,” said another.

“I didn’t think it would be this worst. We were left with nothing. Even we didn’t have anything to eat. And we had worry everyday for the next meal,”

Besides damaging houses and other infrastructures, five people were killed in Narang Geog alone.

Upon the command of His Majesty the King, the office of the Gyalpoi Zimpoen provided basic necessities to the affected families immediately. People had food to eat and tents for shelter. Soldiers were deployed and worked round the clock helping the victims.

In their small ways, Bhutanese from all walks of life came together by contributing in cash and kind. Support also came from outside.

“We are very much grateful to His Majesty the King and the people of Bhutan for giving us physical and moral support,” said one of the affected families.

The houses are either repaired or rebuilt completely. The Narang community primary school resumed classes in October last year. The classes are taken in makeshift huts.

The rebuilding works began faster than ever. Most of them now have houses and some are nearing completion.

As their lives return to normal, smiles are returning on the faces of the victims of earthquake. And thanks to His Majesty the King and the people who came together in times of disaster like this. It is a lesson to be followed in future.

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