Cloudburst in Sikkim: 10 Civilians Dead, 82 Missing, and Severe Infrastructure Damage

Cloudburst in Sikkim: 10 Civilians Dead, 82 Missing, and Severe Infrastructure Damage Image/NDTV
Cloudburst in Sikkim: 10 Civilians Dead, 82 Missing, and Severe Infrastructure Damage Image/NDTV
Cloudburst in Sikkim: 10 Civilians Dead, 82 Missing, and Severe Infrastructure Damage Image/NDTV
Cloudburst in Sikkim: 10 Civilians Dead, 82 Missing, and Severe Infrastructure Damage Image/NDTV

Cloudburst in Sikkim: 10 Civilians Dead, 82 Missing, and Severe Infrastructure Damage

Cloudburst in Sikkim: 10 Civilians Dead, 82 Missing, and Severe Infrastructure Damage

Cloudburst in Sikkim: 10 Civilians Dead, 82 Missing, and Severe Infrastructure Damage

Disaster Strikes as Cloudburst Overflows Lhonak Lake

A devastating cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in north Sikkim has resulted in a tragic disaster, with the loss of 10 civilian lives and 82 individuals, including 22 Army personnel, reported missing. The cloudburst triggered flash floods in the Teesta River, causing extensive damage, including the collapse of 14 bridges. Additionally, over 3,000 tourists are feared to be stranded across different parts of the state due to disrupted transportation.

Collapse of Dam at Chungthang Hydropower Project Aggravates Flooding

The cloudburst, occurring in the early hours of Wednesday, led to the overflow of Lhonak Lake, exacerbating the situation downstream. It caused parts of the dam at Chungthang, the state’s largest hydropower project, to be swept away, contributing to the worsening of the flooding situation. The Sikkim government has declared this calamity a disaster under the Disaster Management Act.

Ray of Hope Amidst Tragedy: One Soldier Rescued

In the midst of this catastrophe, there is a glimmer of hope. The Indian Army shared a heartening update, revealing that one of the 23 soldiers who had gone missing from Bardang near Singtam town has been successfully rescued. His condition is reported as stable.

Widespread Impact and Destruction

A senior official in the Sikkim government confirmed the tragic loss of 10 civilian lives and the alarming count of 82 individuals still missing. The collapse of 14 bridges—nine under the Border Roads Organisation and five under the State government—has disrupted transportation and connectivity. Additionally, concerns have arisen for approximately 14 workers who remain stranded in the tunnels of the Teesta Stage 3 dam in Chungthang, parts of which were swept away.

Injuries and reports of missing persons have emerged from several areas, including Chungthang in Mangan district, Dikchu, Singtam in Gangtok district, and Rangpo in Pakyong district. Over 25 individuals have been rushed to various hospitals for medical assistance.

Communication Disruptions and Relief Efforts

The calamity has also disrupted communication networks, impacting mobile networks and broadband connections in Chungthang and most of North Sikkim due to damaged fiber cable lines. Furthermore, the police station in Chungthang has been destroyed.

In response to the disaster, the State government has requested three additional platoons of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which has been approved by the central government. Relief and rescue operations are already underway, with one NDRF platoon deployed in Rangpo and Singtam towns. One of the three additional NDRF platoons will be airlifted to Chungthang for further rescue operations.

Food and essential supplies will be transported from Siliguri, with the Indian Army and the National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd laying Bailey bridges to facilitate the import of necessities.

Appeal for Vigilance and Support

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang has visited Singtam to assess the situation and has urged all citizens to remain vigilant and refrain from unnecessary travel during this critical time. He emphasized the importance of maintaining composure and expressed hope for a swift return to normalcy in the region.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also extended support to the state and assured the Chief Minister of assistance in dealing with the aftermath of this natural disaster.

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