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Rains pound Bhutan; landslides block national highways

Last Updated: Friday, October 9, 2009 - 12:40

Thimphu: Record rains since 1996 pounded Bhutan as major rivers swelled and landslides blocked national highways besides all Druk Air flights being cancelled.

The weathermen have forecast continued showers till tomorrow.

The rainfall, which started around 7 pm on Tuesday evening, has hit all 20 districts, with the heaviest showers in southern Bhutan, followed by western Bhutan.

The Met office has attributed the rains to an upper air cyclonic circulation over the eastern Uttar Pradesh. "This kind of heavy precipitation at this time of the year is abnormal and unexpected, as the post and pre-monsoon season in Bhutan is from July 1 to September 30," said meteorological head Kunzang Sonam.

Meteorological officer Sonam Tashi said the rains led to the swelling of rivers and several streams.

"If the rains continue as forecast, up to 50 percent of the roads could be blocked due to slides," said department of roads director Sangay Tenzin.

Officiating director of agriculture GB Chettri said, if the rain continued it could pose a threat to rice plantations through flooding and also logging, whereby plants fall due to the weight of water.

Druk Air yesterday cancelled outgoing flights from Kolkata, Bangkok and Bagdogra. "We hope the weather improves by tomorrow, otherwise there may be further delays and cancellations," said Druk Air MD Tandin Jamtsho.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, October 9, 2009 - 12:40

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