Haa tragedy

I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the tragedy in Haa that cut short the lives of eleven of our young soldiers and injured ten others. Young Bhutanese men in uniform with their entire lives ahead of them, some with wives and children, laid down their lives while in the service of our nation.

I join all Bhutanese in offering my heartfelt sympathy to the families and loved ones of the victims of the Anakha tradegy. I hope that you can draw some measure of comfort knowing that you are not alone in your grief – that people across our country, and Bhutanese everywhere, pray and mourn with you.

For the families of the injured, please know that we will do whatever possible to restore the health of your loved one. We join you in your prayers for their full and speedy recovery. And, we will be there with you for as long as it takes.

At this time our hearts also go out to all members of our armed forces who risk so much in the service of our nation – who are always ready to risk their own lives so that the rest of us can live in safety and security.

And, at such times, it is always His Majesty the King who is first on the scene, the greatest source of comfort for those in pain, and the provider of welfare to the children and spouses of the victims. We are blessed to have His Majesty at Anakha, offering solace to bereaved families and ensuring that the injured receive the best medical attention. All of us in the government humbly stand by His Majesty the King, our Kidu-Gi-Pham, to serve and do whatsoever is required of us to provide support and comfort to the victims and their families of today’s tragedy.

At a personal level, it pains me deeply that I am not in Bhutan at this moment of tragedy. I will return home as soon as possible but until then my thoughts and my prayers will be with the families of our soldiers who have suffered a terrible fate.

Tragic news

Tara Air's Twin Otter

Bhutan is in mourning.

Nepalese officials have confirmed that all 19 passengers and 3 crewmembers onboard the Twin Otter aircraft that crashed in eastern Nepal have died. The airplane, which crashed shortly after taking off from Lamidanda airport, was carrying 18 Bhutanese pilgrims. Our fellow citizens were returning to Kathmandu after visiting Maratika’s sacred caves.

A team from Bhutan, led by the Cabinet Secretary and two Zimpon Wongmas, are already in Nepal overseeing relief operations and providing support. The bodies of our pilgrims have been recovered and identified, and are expected to arrive in Paro tomorrow.

The Galpoi Zimpon’s office has established a Crisis Unit to provide support and respond to inquiries. The Unit can be contacted at 188 (hotline), 02-35589 and 1711-6667.

The Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs has also established a similar unit. They can be reached at 233 (hotline), 02-327098 and 1760-9591.

The tragedy has shocked our entire nation. And we are united in our grief. Together we offer our condolences and moral support, our thoughts and our prayers, to the families and friends of the victims of yesterday’s tragedy.

Photo credit: BBC