Gangtok, April 04: On Tuesday afternoon, an avalanche in Sikkim claimed the lives of seven tourists and injured 20 others. The incident happened on a road 14th mile on Jawaharlal Nehru road connecting Gangtok with Nathula at the India-China border. The tragedy has once again highlighted the need for safety measures during avalanche season.
According to an NDRF (national disaster response force) official, all tourists and tourist vehicles have been accounted for. Operations have been called off and there is no more requirement of NDRF. Details of recovered tourists will be shared later.
However, according to a report received from Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority, 12 tourists are undergoing treatment at Sochaygang and seven are reportedly dead, NDRF official said. Indian Army personnel was also involved in the rescue operations but it had to be called off due to another slide.
— Northeast Rising (@ne_rising) April 4, 2023
Union home minister Amit Shah extended his condolences to the deceased. “My sincerest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the tragic avalanche in Sikkim. We are closely monitoring the situation and the teams of NDRF will reach the affected area soon. I pray for the speedy recovery of those injured”, he wrote on his official Twitter account.
My sincerest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the tragic avalanche in Sikkim.
We are closely monitoring the situation and the teams of NDRF will reach the affected area soon. I pray for the speedy recovery of those injured.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) April 4, 2023
Deeply pained by the tragic incident in Sikkim. Owing to the avalanche, the nation has lost several precious lives.
I offer my sincerest condolences to the bereaved families and pray for the speedy recovery of those who were injured. Praying for the safety and security of all.
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) April 4, 2023
Avalanches are caused when a layer of snow breaks away and slides downhill, often with a devastating impact.
Deeply anguished to hear about the loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche in the Nathula Pass region of Sikkim. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. Praying for the speedy recovery of all those who were injured.
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) April 4, 2023
During the winter months, avalanche risk increases in areas with heavy snowfall, steep slopes, and unstable snowpacks. While it’s not possible to eliminate the risk of avalanches, there are steps that you can take to stay safe.
Saddened to hear about the loss of lives due to an avalanche in Sikkim.
Extending my condolences to the bereaved families. May God give them strength to bear the tragic loss.
I further extend my prayers for a speedy recovery to those who were injured.
— N.Biren Singh (@NBirenSingh) April 4, 2023
One of the most important things to do is to stay informed. Check the weather forecast and avalanche warnings regularly. Pay attention to the signs of instability in the snow, such as recent heavy snowfall, rain, or wind. Also, take note of the terrain you’re in. Avalanches are more likely to occur on steep slopes, especially those with a slope angle of 30-45 degrees.
When traveling in avalanche-prone areas, it’s important to carry the right equipment. This includes an avalanche transceiver, a shovel, and a probe. The transceiver is used to locate someone buried in an avalanche, while the shovel and probe are used for digging them out. Make sure that you know how to use these tools and that they are in good working order.
Another key factor in staying safe during avalanche season is to travel with a group. This way, you can keep an eye on each other and respond quickly in the event of an emergency. Additionally, it’s important to communicate your plans with others. Let someone know where you’re going, what route you’re taking, and when you plan to return.
In the aftermath of the Sikkim tragedy, officials have closed the JNM Axis due to fear of more slides. The incident should serve as a wake-up call for tourists and locals alike. It’s important to take avalanche safety seriously, especially during the winter months. By staying informed, carrying the right equipment, traveling with a group, and communicating your plans, you can reduce your risk of being caught in an avalanche. Remember, safety should always come first, and it’s never worth taking unnecessary risks.