His Majesty in Lu­nana

Bhutan Times - - Front Page -

8 Oc­to­ber, 2016: His Majesty The King is in Thanza, the largest and fur­thest vil­lage in Lu­nana. His Majesty vis­ited the glaciers and glacial lakes of Thorthomi, Rap­streng, and Lugge, yes­ter­day.

These glaciers and lakes are the sources of some of our ma­jor rivers, and are con­sid­ered frag­ile due to the enor­mous risk they pose in the event of a glacial lake out­burst flood. Such floods oc­cur when the moraine (ice and rock) walls of the glacial lakes re­cede– such an in­ci­dent oc­curred in 1994, when the Lugge Tsho burst, and the Pho Chu, which is fed by the lake, caused im­mense dam­age to the Pu­nakha Dzong, as well as nu­mer­ous other places down­stream.

The for­ma­tion and growth of a glacial lake in the Thorthomi glacier in sub­se­quent years raised sim­i­lar con­cerns. An op­er­a­tion to manu- ally lower the level of the lake, which if breached would flow to Rap­streng Tsho be­low and cause it to burst, man­aged to re­duce the wa­ter level by 5 me­tres. While the low­er­ing of the wa­ter at Thort- homi’s lake, an ex­tremely dif­fi­cult op­er­a­tion at the al­ti­tude un­der­taken by the Royal Bhutan Army upon Royal Com­mand, was deemed a suc­cess, glacial melt, as a con­se­quence of the chang­ing climate, con­tin­ues to pose risk.

His Majesty met with the per­son­nel op­er­at­ing flood-warn­ing mech­a­nisms who mon­i­tor the lakes. His Majesty also in­spected the glaciers, along with glaciol­o­gists.

His Majesty trekked through Lu­nana, the most iso­lated re­gion in Bhutan, from Laya, af­ter grac­ing the Royal High­land Festival, and crossed some of the high­est passes, spend­ing nights in tents along the route, or in the homes of the peo­ple in the re­mote vil­lages. His Majesty met peo­ple at vil­lages in Woche, Lhedi, Tsho­jong, Thanza, and Ten­choe, dur­ing the course of the Royal Visit. His Majesty spent time meet­ing the peo­ple, and granted tokha in the vil­lages. In Tsho­jong, His Majesty also vis­ited the Dzong, and granted a statue of Chana Dorji.

From Thanza, His Majesty will con­tinue the trek, and cross Rinchen­zoe la (5350m) and ar­rive at Se­phu in Trongsa.

His Majesty last vis­ited the vil­lages of Lu­nana and the glaciers and glacial lakes in 2008.

His Majesty on 27th Oc­to­ber, watched the North Thim­phu by-elec­tion de­bate on BBS, along with the peo­ple of Thanza in one of their homes.

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