Relentless heavy rains trigger severe flash floods and landslides in Bhutan

At least 10 people have died as persistent heavy rains triggered major flash flooding in Bhutan, authorities reported on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Residents in the Himalayan region were caught off guard by rising rivers and streams, inundating homes and buildings.

Heavy monsoon rains caused rivers and streams to burst their banks, sending floodwaters to many areas.

According to Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, at least 10 people have died and five others were hurt, two of whom sustained serious injuries. The victims are believed to be a group that was collecting cordyceps at the campsite near Laya.

"Our hearts are with the people of Laya today, as we hear about the tragedy that struck a group of cordyceps collectors in the highland," the PM said in a statement.

"Along with local authorities and medical teams, we have coordinated the rescue efforts since 09:00 UTC (15:00 LT). For now, as you have heard, we have lost 10 previous lives and five others are injured."

Rescue operations are continuing while helicopters have been deployed to evacuate other victims. Crews, including military personnel, have been sent to an extremely remote area that was badly affected.

Tshering urged people to avoid visiting or camping near rivers during this time, as well as to be aware of the hazards brought by the heavy monsoon rains. 

In the neighboring country of Nepal, monsoon rains have killed at least seven people and submerged almost 100 homes, with many others feared missing. 

Featured image credit: BEAR-Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval


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