At least 19 people, including six soldiers, have died in the Sikkim flash floods, and 103 people, including 16 soldiers, remain missing. Over 3,000 tourists are stranded, 2,500 people have been evacuated and 6,000 have been moved to relief camp.
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The Sikkim government has issued another glacial lake burst alert and has urged tourists to delay their travel plans due to the risk of explosives and ammunition washed away from an army camp in the recent flash floods. Shako Cho lake near Lachen is at risk of bursting, and authorities have begun evacuating residents from the surrounding area.
“Around 3,000 people are stranded in Lachen and Lachung. 3,150 people who have gone there on motorcycles are also stuck due to the floods. We will evacuate all with helicopters of Army and Air Force,” said Sikkim Chief Secretary Vijay Bhushan Pathak.
A glacial lake burst in the upper reaches of Sikkim triggered flash floods and a glacial lake outburst, releasing water from Chungthang Dam and drastically increasing the water level of the Teesta River Wednesday morning, causing widespread devastation in the Himalayan state.
Four people have died and 17 are missing in Mangan district, while five people have died and 22 are missing in Gangtok. Ten people, including six soldiers, have died in Pakyong district, and 59 people remain missing.
The Army has been searching extensively for the 16 soldiers missing since Wednesday morning while troops of the Trishakti Corps are providing medical aid and telephone connectivity to civilians and tourists stranded in the affected areas of Chungthang, Lachung, and Lachen in North Sikkim.
The government-owned hydropower company NHPC is doing everything it can to quickly reopen its hydropower plants, as the ministry watches closely what is happening in the Teesta basin after the flash floods. The Power Ministry said it will conduct a thorough assessment of the damage to hydropower projects in Sikkim once the floodwaters recede.
Flash floods on the night of October 3-4 submerged or washed away all bridges downstream of the Teesta-V hydropower station, up to Tarkhola and Pamphok. The Teesta-V hydropower station is currently out of service and not generating electricity. The NHPC has safely evacuated all staff from its projects and relocated them to safer areas.
A glacial lake burst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim caused a flash flood in the Teesta River, sweeping away power infrastructure at Chungthang Dam and inundating downstream towns and villages with a massive surge of water.
Flash floods destroyed 11 bridges in Sikkim, including eight in Mangan district, two in Namchi, and one in Gangtok. The floods also damaged water pipelines, sewage lines, and 277 houses in four districts. NDRF platoons in North Sikkim are on standby to evacuate local residents.
“Our dedicated teams are working day and night to address the immediate concerns and challenges posed by this calamity. I urge the administration, local authorities, all organisations, and individuals to join hands in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation,” Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang said.
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