Don’t panic we have enough reserves : PM
Due to continued heavy rain over the past days, several disasters occurred across the country especially in the southern part of the country.
However, Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay at the press conference last Friday said people should not panic by creating shortage on food and fuel supplies since the country have adequate reserves.
To challenge the inconveniences, the government joined by the people from Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Bhutan Police, DeSuups, Thromde and Drungkhag officials, workshop owners and other volunteers to carry out the work.
People across the country and Bhutanese abroad have decided to raise fund for the affected. However, Lyonchhen said fund raising activity is not required as the government have separate budget for the disaster. He said, “We deeply appreciate their generous offer to carry out fund raising activities to relief efforts of the government,” adding fund rising is not required.
Talking on the food, ministry of agriculture and forest Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said that the country has reserves of rice, salt and oil in the Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCB) all over the country during such disaster. He said, “We have informed all the FCB outlets to distribute food reserves be- fore the heavy rainfall,” adding every Dzongkhag has adequate food to last for three months at minimum.
The food shortage in Nimtola under Dagana Dzongkhag recently was not the result of lacking of food in the Dzongkhag FCB outlet but at the Gewog level as the Gewog does not have farm shop. However, the preference will be given to implement farm shops in each and every Gewog. Therefore, there won’t be food shortage during such disaster.
With regard to the crop damage compensation, the government provides free power tiller services and seeds to the affected households. Over 30 acres of wetland were affected and nine acres of land were washed away in Umling and Chuzergang in Gelephu where some minor affected in Samdrupjongkhar and Samtse. “A retaining wall has been constructed with the help of around 1,800 volunteers from neighboring villages and civil servants,” he said.
Lyonchen said people shouldn’t have panicked on fuel which was quite unnecessary. “That was depleting the reserves unnecessarily,” he said, adding 35 kilolitres of petrol were being dispensed in Thimphu in one day because of hoarding. “We never announced that we were going to ration or
should be careful about the fuel,” he said.
Economic affairs minister Lyonpo Lekey Dorji said there were enough resources for fuel reserves. 35 kilolitres of petrol and 32 kilolitres of diesel were being used daily. “Even at that rate we calculate that we could still go without panicking for over 18 days,” Lyonpo said, adding that currently the country needs only around 15 kilolitres of fuel a day.
Lyonpo said that even the capital city has enough capacity of 190,000 litres for petrol and 260,000 litres of diesel with the total of 450,000 litres fuel reserves in five depots. He said, “That was actually adequate reserves to last for at least ten days.”
For back up, the government also had 300,000 litres of petrol and 700,000 litres of diesel at Dechencholing as reserves. He further added that there is no problem since the five depot has 165,000 litres of petrol and 180,000 litres of diesel. Dechencholing reserve had 66,000 itres of petrol and 501,000 litres of diesel as of Friday Lyonpo added.
By Friday, 59 tankers had arrived with fuel and the government is planning to open similar reserve tanks in the east.
The minister for works and human settlement Lyonpo Dorji Choden said the Amochu reclamation project is finalized with funding from Asian Development Bank (ADB). She said, “Once the reclamation project begins, there should be walls which is big and strong enough to protect the settlements around it.”
Talking on the Sarpang town, a new town area has been identified in Shaychangthang and a local area plan, map and plotting are completed. “Once the residents have their lagthrams, they can start construction in the new town plan area which will be safe from floods,” she said.
As hospitals are running out of oxygen, with the help of Royal Bhutan Army, trucks load of around 400 numbers of oxygen cylinders were transshipped to ensure enough stock at the JDWNRH in Thimphu.
The government has decided to keep a provision of at least a week’s supply for all time. Lyonchhen said that the government also decided to develop a facility to refill the cylinders inside the country without having to send it outside for replenishing.
However, the affected families have been rendered all possible assistance, including food and shelter. The relief team continues to be active and monitoring the situation.