By: Pune Pulse
October 4, 2023
Pune: Five individuals have tragically lost their lives and 23 Army personnel are currently reported as missing as a result of a flash flood that occurred in the Teesta River within the Lachen Valley in North Sikkim. The Defence Public Relations Officer (PRO) in Guwahati has stated that this incident was caused by a sudden cloud burst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim at approximately 1:30 am.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has successfully rescued seven individuals from Singtam. Currently, one team is deployed in Gangtok, while two teams are stationed in the surrounding areas of Sikkim in West Bengal, according to the NDRF.
An official from the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) has confirmed that three bodies have been recovered during the ongoing rescue and relief operations in Singtam. The SSDMA, in a press release, has stated that a cloudburst in certain parts of Lhonak Lake resulted in a rapid rise of water levels with significant force downstream along the Teesta River basin during the early hours of Wednesday.
This calamity has caused extensive damage to various establishments in the districts of Mangan, Gangtok, Pakyong, and Namchi. In response to this devastating event, the education department has announced the closure of all schools in the four affected districts of Sikkim until October 8.
Defence officials have reported that establishments in the Lachen Valley have been impacted, and efforts are currently underway to gather more information. Furthermore, the release of water from the Chungthang dam has led to a sudden surge in water levels downstream, reaching heights of 15-20 feet. As a result, army vehicles parked near Singtam in Bardang have been affected, according to officials.
The Chief Minister has convened a meeting with senior officials at the Singtam Nagar Panchayat office and has urged them to remain vigilant. In a statement, the Chief Minister expressed his condolences and assured the public of his thoughts and prayers during this challenging time.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also offered his support, assuring all possible assistance. “I have spoken to Sikkim CM Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) and have assessed the situation following the unfortunate natural disaster in parts of the state. I have assured him of all possible support in addressing this challenge,” stated Modi.