In the breathtaking landscapes of India’s northeastern state of Sikkim, where the majestic Himalayan peaks touch the sky, a calamity of nature has unfolded, leaving its mark of destruction. As torrential rains continue to lash the region, rescue teams grapple with challenging conditions. Heavy rainfall continues to hamper their efforts, making it difficult to reach the more than 140 people reported missing in the wake of severe flooding.
Sikkim’s Teesta River Floods Towns And Villages
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The crisis began when Lhonak Lake overflowed due to a cloudburst and subsequent torrential rains, possibly triggered by an avalanche. The floodwaters flowed into the Teesta River, causing widespread devastation. As per the reports from Reuters via Live Mint, VB Pathak, the chief secretary of the state, emphasised the critical role of weather conditions in the rescue operation. He said that they were awaiting better weather because only then could the Air Force and other rescue teams enter the flood-affected areas.
The death toll from the disaster has risen to 44, with two additional fatalities reported since Friday. The flash flood, initiated by the cloudburst at Lhonak Lake, led to the rapid accumulation of a vast volume of water, which eventually surged towards the Chungthang dam, causing extensive damage to power infrastructure and inundating towns and villages downstream.
Union Home Minister Approves Relief Funds
#ITBP launched a massive rescue operation and evacuated all the 68 persons safely who were stranded at the height of 16000 feet in #SikkimFlashFloods 🇮🇳🇮🇳 #Sikkim #SikkimCloudburst #Tejas #MUNBRE #Israel #IsraelUnderAttack #savas
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The flood, which struck after a cloudburst in the early hours of Wednesday, has had a severe impact on over 25,000 people, resulting in more than 1,200 damaged houses and the destruction of 13 bridges. In response to the crisis, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang announced financial assistance of ₹4 lakh for the families of the deceased and immediate relief of ₹2,000 each for those taking shelter in relief camps. As per the reports from Reuters via Live Mint, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has approved the release of ₹44.8 crore as an advance amount from the central share of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to aid the affected people.
The devastating flood has also wreaked havoc on the state’s infrastructure, destroying 13 bridges in total. Mangan district alone witnessed the loss of eight bridges, with three more bridges falling victim to the disaster in Gangtok and two in Namchi.
To prevent similar future disasters, the Indian government was already in the process of implementing early warning systems for glacial floods, beginning with Lhonak Lake and another nearby at Shako Cho in Sikkim.
Cover Image Courtesy: Chandra Kumar Bose/X
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