Sikkim flash flood death toll rises to 26; 142 people still missing

As many as 3,000 people including tourists, drivers and motorcyclists have been stranded in Lachen and Lachung areas

North Sikkim: State Disaster Management Authority has said that the death toll from flash floods in Sikkim has reached 26 with 142 people still reported missing.

As per the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) report of October 6 at midnight, the death toll was registered at 26. It said 2413 people have been rescued, and 1203 houses have been damaged in the flash flood.

The glacial-fed Lhonak Lake in north Sikkim triggered a flash flood in Teesta river basin on October 4.

A total of 1173 houses were severely damaged. 2413 people were rescued and 26 persons were injured. Due to flash floods in the Teesta River basin, 13 bridges were washed away. A total of 6875 people are living in 22 relief camps. 25,065 people have been affected by the flood read the statement from Sikkim Disaster Management Authority.

Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang chaired a high-level meeting at his official residence in Mintokgang on Friday yesterday evening. The meeting was attended by Director General of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) Lt. Gen. Raghu Srinivasan, Chief Secretary of the Government of Sikkim, VB Pathak, DGP Sikkim, AK Singh, Deputy GOC of the 17 Mountain Division, DIG of ITBP, Chief Engineer of BRO, Swastik, Deputy Commandant ITBP, and senior officers of the State government and the Army.

In a statement the CM said the State Government, in collaboration with Sikkim Urja Limited, has formulated a special financial relief package for the disaster-stricken areas of the state.

"We have allocated a relief package of Rs 25 crore for Mangan District and Rs 15 crore each for the districts of Gangtok, Pakyong and Namchi. This allocation is in addition to the relief aid provided by both the state and the central government," he said in the statement that has been posted on Facebook.

The Sikkim Government, he said will offer subsidies to those who transport essential commodities, vegetables, and other food items to our state. This measure aims to ensure that the additional expenses incurred due to longer travel routes do not inflate the selling prices for local residents.

CM Tamang has warned against stockpiling and overcharging of goods. "Those found in violation of these regulations will face the permanent revocation of their licenses," the chief minister said.

The chief minister said that his government is committed to exploring all possible avenues to restore road and network connectivity in the severely affected regions of Mangan District, which are currently completely cut off from the rest of the state.
He said that priority was given to open the road connectivity up to Chungthang, while the road from Naga to Toong will be constructed subject to the availability of land as soon as possible.

He stated that in the face of the calamity that has ravaged several parts of the State while disrupting normal life, numerous officers, personnel from the National Disaster Management Authority and the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) and dedicated volunteers are tirelessly engaged in rescue and relief operations.

As per ITBP, the people evacuated safely, were totally cut off for last three days because of the deluge caused by a glacial lake outburst.

Taking to social media platform, X, ITBP said, "In the recent flash flood, 68 persons were stranded at the height of 16000 feet, totally cut off for the last 3 days in North Sikkim. #Himveers of ITBP rescue team, launched a massive rescue operation and evacuated all 68 persons safely."

According to Sikkim's Chief secretary, as many as 3,000 people including tourists, drivers and motorcyclists have been stranded in Lachen and Lachung areas.

Due to the glacial lake outburst flood and flash floods, there was a sudden surge in flows in the Teesta River, which washed away several bridges, parts of NH-10, the Chungthang Dam and has impacted several small towns and several infrastructure projects in the upper reaches of the river valley in Sikkim.

The Sikkim government has set up 18 relief camps in Singtam, Rangpo, Dikchu and Adarsh Gaon which have faced most of the damages. However, due to a lack of connectivity with Chungthang, the relief camps there are being set up by the Indian Army and other paramilitaries.

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