Sikkim Cloud Burst Latest Updates
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New Delhi, [07/10/2023] – In a race against time, Indian authorities are mounting a massive rescue operation in the wake of flash floods that have devastated the picturesque northeastern state of Sikkim. The catastrophe unfolded after a Himalayan glacial lake burst its banks, leaving 102 people, including 22 army personnel, missing. Fourteen lives have already been tragically lost in the deluge.
Over 3,000 tourists have found themselves stranded in various parts of the state, cut off by surging waters. In response to the dire situation, hundreds of search and rescue personnel have been swiftly deployed across the region, battling challenging conditions to reach those in need.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged unwavering support, assuring Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang of all possible assistance in these trying times.
The Lhonak Lake Disaster
The disaster unfolded when the state’s Lhonak lake breached its embankment during a torrential downpour on Tuesday night. This event led to a dramatic surge in water levels in the Teesta river, inundating the Lachen Valley. The crisis escalated further as water was released from a nearby dam into the river, causing a sudden increase in water levels downstream, with towering waves reaching up to 15-20 feet high.
Tragically, nearly 14 people were trapped in the tunnels of the dam, adding to the urgency of the rescue mission. The situation was exacerbated by incessant rains and the sweeping away of roads and bridges in many places, making access difficult for rescue teams.
Satellite images provided by India’s space agency, ISRO, revealed the alarming changes in the lake’s volume. The lake, which spanned 167.4 hectares on September 28, had dramatically shrunk to 60.3 hectares by October 4.
The Heroic Search and Rescue Efforts
The Indian Army has launched a Herculean search operation to locate and rescue the missing individuals. Amidst challenging conditions, they managed to rescue one soldier on Wednesday night, providing a glimmer of hope. Tragically, rescue personnel also recovered lifeless bodies, including that of a child, from the flood plains of the Teesta river in Singtam.
“The search operations are being undertaken under conditions of incessant rains, fast-flowing water in the Teesta River, with the roads and bridges washed away at many places,” stated the army in its official statement.
Sikkim’s Chief Secretary, VB Pathak, reported massive damage to infrastructure, including roads and bridges, due to the deluge. Furthermore, mobile coverage in the northern parts of the state has been severely disrupted, hampering communication efforts.
To support the families of missing individuals, including soldiers, the army has established three helplines. These helplines are actively reaching out to family members, providing them with crucial updates about the ongoing rescue operations and the evolving situation.
FAQ: Sikkim Cloud Burst
Q1: What caused the Sikkim Cloud Burst / flash floods in Sikkim?
Ans: The flash floods in Sikkim were triggered by a Himalayan glacial lake burst, resulting in a surge of water into the Teesta river.
Q2: How many people are missing in the Sikkim Cloud Burst / flash floods?
Ans: As of the latest reports, 102 people, including 22 army personnel, are missing due to the flash floods.
Q3: What is the extent of the damage caused by the floods?
Ans: The floods have caused significant damage to infrastructure, including roads and bridges, in addition to tragic loss of life.
Q4: What rescue efforts are underway?
Ans: The Indian Army has launched a massive search and rescue operation, despite challenging conditions, to locate and rescue those missing in the floods.
Q5: How can families of the missing individuals get information and support?
Ans: The army has set up three helplines to provide information and support to the families of missing individuals, including its own soldiers.
The unfolding tragedy in Sikkim underscores the urgent need for coordinated efforts to mitigate the impact of natural disasters and highlights the resilience and heroism of the individuals involved in the ongoing rescue mission. As the nation unites in support of the affected, the hope remains that more lives will be saved, and the state of Sikkim will recover from this devastating ordeal.