Sikkim flash floods death toll rises to 21, searches on for 103 missing people

Of the 23 army personnel who were missing from the Burdang area, the bodies of seven have been recovered from different areas downstream while one was rescued and the search is on for 15 missing jawans

October 06, 2023 05:42 am | Updated 10:41 am IST - Gangtok/Kolkata

Thick torrent: The Teesta river in spate on Wednesday after a glacial lake burst in Sikkim.

Thick torrent: The Teesta river in spate on Wednesday after a glacial lake burst in Sikkim. | Photo Credit: PTI

The toll in the flash flood in Sikkim mounted to 21 on October 6 as Army and NDRF teams worked their way through slushy earth and fast-flowing water in the Teesta river basin and downstream north Bengal for the third day in search of those who were swept away and are still missing, officials said.

Of the 23 army personnel who were missing from the Burdang area, the bodies of seven have been recovered from different areas downstream while one was rescued and the search is on for 15 missing jawans, Chief Minister P.S. Tamang said.

A total of 103 people, including the 15 jawans, remained missing after a cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim in the early hours of October 4 triggered the flash flood.

So far, 2,411 people have been evacuated and accommodated at relief camps, while the calamity has affected over 22,000 people, the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) said in its latest bulletin.

The flash flood in the Teesta River, triggered by the cloudburst in Lhonak Lake, caused accumulation of huge quantity of water, which turned towards Chungthang Dam destroying the power infrastructure before moving downstream in spate, flooding towns and villages.

The flood destroyed 13 bridges in the state, with eight bridges getting washed away in Mangan district alone. Three bridges were destroyed in Gangtok and two in Namchi.

Of the civilian deaths, six were reported in Gangtok, and four each in Mangan and Pakyong.

A total of 103 people were missing after the incident. Of them, 59 people were reported missing in Pakyong, 22 in Gangtok, 17 in Mangan and five in Namchi.

Chungthang town bore the maximum brunt of the flood with 80 per cent of it getting severely affected. The NH-10, considered the lifeline of the state, sustained extensive damage at several places.

Meanwhile, the search for the remaining 15 missing army personnel is underway downstream near Teesta barrage.

At the site of the incident in Burdang, army vehicles have been dug out and stores were recovered, a defence release said, adding tracker dogs and special radars have been deployed in the search operations.

It said that the army has been able to take account of 1,471 tourists stranded in Lachen, Laching and Chungthang areas.

With the weather improving on October 6, there may be a window of opportunity for evacuation of the stranded tourists by helicopters, it said.

Surveys are being carried out by all agencies to assess the damage and plan restoration of road connectivity. The road link between Singtam and Burdang has been restored with the clearing of a single lane for vehicular traffic, the release said.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.