for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. ~UNESCO

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Disaster Preparedness of Bhutanese Dzongs: Wangdue Dzong is Lost but Did we learn a Lesson?

Wangduephodrang Dzong was built in 1639 by Zhabdrung and since then it served
as the centre of administration and  monastic education.
It was a national heritage of immense value and presence.

On the fateful evening of June 24th in 2012, the great fortress became a history
 due to a fire that we couldn't source the cause.
The heritage and everything that we lost with it was one of the greatest loss we suffered
and a national tragedy .

We know that Wangdue Dzong is gone forever but did we learn a lesson? There were 
lots  of speculation on the cause of the fire. I can't comment on any of it as the sole cause of the 2012 tragedy. However, we have a lot of similar dzongs and lhakings all over Bhutan and they represent us to the outside world. They contain the heritage and unique identity of  this tiny country.  Fire is a disaster that is very difficult to predict or prevent but we can be ready  and be pro-active. If Wangdue Dzong went down due to electrical short circuit, we ought to revisit  the existing electrical setups in the other dzongs. It is time to look at the quality and expertise  rather than giving importance on saving budget and relying on trial and error.  Surveillance cameras is another thing that we can think of if we imagined  that the tragedy  was caused by some idiots.  And on side, I feel that the butter  lamps too can be a potential hazard (Pardon me, I'm not saying we should stop lighting them). We should create awareness and provide safety measures.  Bhutan has more than similar irreplaceable heritage that is very important for the nation's history and identity.  So, it would be really wise of Bhutan to revisit the disaster preparedness of similar important sites before we regret like Wangdue. 

No comments:

Post a Comment