Friday, December 1, 2023

Sikkim Deluge: Search Continues For Missing Army Soldiers, Evacuation of Stranded People Underway

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Following a devastating glacial lake outburst that affected the region, ongoing search and rescue operations are in progress for the 16 missing Army soldiers, as well as the evacuation of numerous individuals stranded across various parts of the state.

According to an official statement from the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Indian Army, the search efforts for the missing soldiers are now concentrated on downstream areas near the Teesta Barrage. At the site of the incident near Singtam in Burdang, efforts are being made to recover army vehicles and supplies.

Additional resources have been deployed, including teams from the Tiranga Mountain Rescue (TMR), tracker dogs, and specialized radar equipment to aid in the search efforts. The Indian Army is also providing vital assistance such as food, medical aid, and communication support to civilians and tourists who are stranded in North Sikkim.

Meanwhile, troops from the TriShakti Corps of the Indian Army have accounted for 1,471 tourists in the Lachen/Chatten, Lachung, and Chungthang areas. Agencies are currently conducting surveys to assess the extent of damage and plan for the restoration of road connectivity. The road link between Singtam and Burdang has been partially cleared to allow for vehicular traffic.

Regarding the flood situation, District Collector Hem Kumar Chettri of Mangan District stated that contact had been established with Chungthang, revealing extensive damage but no reported casualties from the town. Efforts are underway to assess the situation further, with teams being sent to Chungthang for evaluation.

The State Disaster Management Authority confirmed earlier that at least 19 people, including six army personnel, had lost their lives in the flash floods in Sikkim. Around 3,000 people were reported as stranded in Lachen and Lachung, with additional support from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) being requested and approved by the Central government.

Relief camps have been set up in Singtam, Rangpo, Dikchu, and Adarsh Gaon to provide assistance to the most affected areas. However, due to connectivity issues with Chungthang, the Indian Army and other paramilitary forces are establishing relief camps in that region.

The flash flood, triggered by a cloud burst in South Lhonak Lake in North West Sikkim, resulted in incessant monsoon rainfall, causing significant damage, including the sweeping away of the Indreni Bridge in Singtam town, located approximately 30 kilometres from Gangtok.

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