At least 16 people have died, including six army personnel, in the flash floods in Sikkim in the early hours of Wednesday, the State Disaster Management Authority said. "19 people are dead and 103 are missing in the Sikkim flash floods," the report stated on Thursday.
Search on for missing people
The search for the missing people is now focusing on the areas downstream of Teesta River. Search and rescue efforts are continuing to locate the 16 missing soldiers in Sikkim. Earlier on Wednesday evening, out of the initial 23 missing soldiers, one was recovered alive.
Sikkim Chief Secretary Vijay Bhushan Pathak said, "As per the checkpost data available, around 3000 people are stranded in Lachen and Lachung. 700-800 drivers are stuck there. 3150 people who have gone there on motorcycles are also stuck there...we will evacuate all with helicopters of Army and Air Force." Moreover, the army made those who were stuck in Lachen and Lachung speak to their families through voice over the internet.
Injuries and persons missing have been reported from Chungthang in Mangan district, Dikchu, Singtam in Gangtok district and Rangpo in Pakyong district. In Mangan district, 4 people have died and 17 people are reported missing. Similarly in Gangtok, five deaths have been confirmed with 22 missing.
State govt asked for 3 more platoons of NDRF
In Pakyong district, 10 deaths including 6 Army men have been confirmed while 59 people remain missing. The Sikkim Government on Wednesday confirmed the deaths of 14 people and over 102 people missing. The State government has asked for three (3) extra platoons of the National Disaster Response Force, which the Central government has approved. There is one platoon of NDRF already in service in Rangpo and Singtam towns.
One such upcoming platoon of NDRF will be airlifted to Chungthang for rescue operations. It is assumed that over 3,000 domestic and foreign tourists are stranded in the State currently. Similarly, food and civil supplies will be taken to Chungthang once the weather improves for air connectivity, as per the official report. Meanwhile, the State officials feared ration shortages in the State.
18 relief camps set up
Necessities from Siliguri, Bailey bridges will be laid by the Indian Army and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), informed the State Chief Secretary. The State government has set up 18 relief camps in Singtam, Rangpo, Dikchu and Adarsh Gaon which have faced most of the damages. However, due to a lack of connectivity with Chungthang, the relief camps there are being set up by the Indian Army and other paramilitaries.
South Lhonark lake, situated in North West Sikkim, witnessed a cloud burst causing incessant monsoon rainfall on Wednesday morning. The flowing flash flood made its way through River Teesta sweeping Indreni Bridge in Singtam town, some 30 kilometres from Gangtok informed Gangtok District Administration. Another connecting bridge of Balutar hamlet was also swept away around 4 am.