At 2:00 am yesterday morning, even as fire raged through Chamkhar town, the Galpoi Zimpoen’s office was already coordinating efforts to control the disaster. Three hours later, together with the Dzongdag, Royal Bhutan Police, civil servants, monks, students and local residents, His Majesty the King’s representatives in Bumthang were able to contain the fire from spreading throughout the town.
By then, the inferno had left behind a trail of destruction – two men lost their lives, 42 houses were razed to the ground, 66 shops were destroyed, and 267 people were left homeless.
But, at the command of His Majesty the King, who is in India, the Zimpoen’s office was already busy arranging food and temporary shelter for the shocked victims. And by the afternoon, His Majesty the Fourth King had reached Chamkhar to personally oversee the relief and recovery efforts.
Most of the victims in Chamkhar have lost their entire life savings. And their road to recovery will be long and difficult. I hope that their plight will move the Parliament to establish the Relief Fund as soon as possible.
Photo credit: BBS