Flash Floods In Sikkim After Cloudburst – Five dead, 23 soldiers missing
Flash Floods In Sikkim After Cloudburst: On Wednesday, a sudden cloud burst above the Lhonak Lake in Sikkim led to flooding in the Tista River basin, disrupting daily life in the region. At least five people lost their lives.
Following a significant increase in water levels during Tuesday and Wednesday midnight, the Sikkim government issued a notification declaring the natural calamity as a ‘disaster.’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Sikkim’s Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang and assured ‘full support’ during the crisis.
This happened last night after days of continuous rainfall in Sikkim, India. It is said to have happened due to a collapsing of dam that holds the teesta river. No loss of life reported so far. #Sikkim #sikkimfloods #flooding #teesta #teestariver #river #India #media pic.twitter.com/5R7Q5gHPwR
— Animesh Chettri (@animesh1304) October 4, 2023
Until Wednesday afternoon, the water level of the Tista River remained below the danger mark, according to data from the Central Water Commission, indicating no flood situation in the vicinity.
However, by that time, the deluge had wreaked havoc on local communities, their properties, vehicles, crucial roads, and bridges, claiming several lives.
Here’s an overview of the disaster situation:
1. Cloud bursts led to flooding, and water release from Chungthang Dam worsened the situation.
In a press release, the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority stated, “A cloud burst occurred in parts of Lhonak Lake, causing a rapid rise in water levels in the lower reaches of the Tista River basin around the early hours of October 4th. This significantly damaged several settlements, including Mangan, Gangtok, Pakyong, and Namchi districts.” They explained that the flooding began around midnight and worsened due to water release from the Chungthang Dam.
2. Five bodies have recovered so far.
The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Gangtok, Mahendra Chhetri, said, “Five bodies have been recovered from the Golitar and Singtam areas, while three individuals were rescued from Golitar.”
3. 23 soldiers missing, 41 vehicles submerged.
Another official reported, “There is information about 23 soldiers from the army missing, and 41 vehicles are submerged in the mud.”
4. Indrani Bridge washed away.
Another official mentioned, “The steel bridge located 30 kilometers from the state capital Gangtok in Singtam, known as the Indrani Bridge, was completely washed away in the waters of the Tista River on Wednesday.”
The 120-meter cable suspension bridge is a vital route.
5. Some sections of NH-10 submerged In Sikkim and other parts of the country, certain sections of the National Highway-10 (NH-10) also got submerged, prompting flood warnings for northern West Bengal and Bangladesh, which are downstream from where the Tista flows.
6. Schools in neighboring districts to remain closed until October 8th The Education Department has issued a circular stating that all schools in the Mangan, Gangtok, Pakyong, and Namchi districts will remain closed until October 8th.
7. Two more bridges washed away Due to the sudden surge in Tista starting Tuesday night, two additional bridges, Baluatara and another near the Lanco Hydroelectric Project, got washed away.
8. NDRF deploys 3 teams and rescues 7 individuals The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) swiftly deployed three teams for rescue and relief efforts following the unexpected floods. A spokesperson for the federal contingency force stated that they have assigned one team to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, and two teams to neighboring West Bengal. So far, the NDRF has rescued seven individuals.