Discussion on disaster management raises a small storm in the assembly

Many of the people who were affected by the September 18 earthquake last year have still not received their house insurance.

The issue was raised today in the National Assembly.

The earthquake damaged close to 7,000 houses in rural areas. Four months since the disaster struck, many of the home owners have still not received the insurance.

The Opposition Leader, Tshering Tobgay, said the people are still not clear about the assistance they will receive from the government.

“Most of the houses damaged by the earthquake have not been reconstructed because the assessment works are still incomplete. The people are worried that they will not get insurance if they dismantle their homes before the assessment works are over.”

In response, the Home and Cultural Affairs Minister, Minjur Dorji, denied this. He said most of the people have been given their insurance claims. A few households have not received their insurance because of problems in categorising the extent of the damage.

“A total of Nu.42.4 million is payable as insurance. Of that, we have already paid Nu.28.3 million.”

The Opposition Leader also said there is no proper system in place to respond to disasters in timely manner.

“The nation has experienced several disasters during the last four years. The government has consistently reported that a system has been developed to prepare and respond to disasters.  But this has not happened. People are still not clear about it.”

The Home and Cultural Affairs Minister said the government has not failed in responding to disasters.

On the issue of preparedness, he said awareness programmes are carried out at the national and the grassroots level, relief materials are being stockpiled and disaster management trainings are being carried out.

“In each and every disaster, despite the fact that we have not been able to pass the national disaster bill to formally support the institutionalization of disaster management system and processes, we have succeeded in providing immediate relief and response to the affected communities.”

Following the question answer session, the house adopted the Education City Bill 2011 with the majority of the members voting in favour of the bill.

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