More than two years into the pandemic, handwashing with soap remains one of the best defenses against the Coronavirus, along with the other safety protocols. With the government announcing further COVID-19 relaxations, maintaining hand hygiene has become more crucial than ever. But in Samdrup Jongkhar Thromde, water tanks put in place for handwashing remain empty without water.
Most of the shops have fixed a water tank each in front of their shops. But BBS found out that from about fifty hand washing stations, thirty-five remain empty without water and soaps. According to the shopkeepers, the Thromde administration normally fills up the water tanks with water.
“Thromde fills up the drums by bringing the water tanker. But now I don’t know what is happening. We have to request water. Only after several requests, do they fill it up sometimes. We aren’t able to fill up ourselves as we don’t receive enough water for drinking,” said Tshewang Dorji, a shopkeeper.
“There is no water in drums. We are told to wear a mask, maintain cleanliness and wash our hands but there is no water available although we can get a mask easily,” said Zangpo, a resident.
“To wash hands we need water. But the thromde has not filled up drums here for about a month now,” said Yangku, a shopkeeper.
Meanwhile, as per the Samdrup Jongkhar Thromde administration, DeSuups on duty usually inform them as and when the water tanks get empty. But with further relaxations, the number of DeSuups deployed for patrolling the town area has been reduced. And as a result, no one has come forward to inform the thromde of the empty water tanks.
However, the thromde administration said they will immediately start re-filling the water tanks.
With the surge in COVID cases around the world, WHO says that people should continue following COVID safety protocols.
Kinley Wangchuk, Samdrup Jongkhar
Edited by Sonam Pem