Gangtok, Oct 05: Sikkim is facing a catastrophic situation as flash floods, triggered by a cloud burst, wreaked havoc in the early hours of Wednesday. The aftermath paints a grim picture, with 14 civilian casualties, 102 individuals still unaccounted for, and approximately 2,000 homes left in ruins. These devastating floods have not only affected the local population but have also stranded over 3,000 tourists across the state. Additionally, 12 to 14 workers remain trapped in tunnels near the Teesta Stage 3 dam in Chungthang.
Reports of injuries, missing persons, and extensive damage have poured in from various areas, including Chungthang in Mangan district, Dikchu, Singtam in Gangtok district, and Rangpo in Pakyong district. The root cause of this calamity can be traced back to a cloud burst at Lhonak lake during the late hours of Tuesday night. The torrential rain led to the lake’s embankment breaching, resulting in a surge of water into the Teesta basin. Chungthang, in particular, bore the brunt of this natural disaster as the Teesta Stage 3 dam was breached, compounding the devastation.
The state machinery has been working tirelessly to manage the situation and provide relief to the affected population. The Sikkim government swiftly secured approval from the Central government for the deployment of three additional platoons of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). These reinforcements complement the one NDRF platoon already stationed in Rangpo and Singtam, where they are actively involved in rescue and relief operations.
Amidst the ongoing crisis, state officials anticipate a potential shortage of essential supplies, particularly rationed goods. To address this concern, efforts are being made to establish Bailey bridges by the Indian Army and the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL). These bridges will facilitate the transportation of supplies from Siliguri, offering a lifeline to the affected regions.
In these trying times, the resilience and unity of the people of Sikkim have shone brightly. Communities are coming together to support one another, demonstrating the human spirit’s ability to endure and overcome adversity.
As rescue operations continue and the search for missing individuals intensifies, the people of Sikkim remain hopeful that their loved ones will be found safe. The rehabilitation and rebuilding phase will undoubtedly be a challenging journey, but with the unwavering support of the central and state governments, as well as the collective strength of the community, Sikkim will rise from the ashes of this catastrophe.
This tragic event serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of regions prone to natural disasters, especially those situated in the Himalayan belt. It underscores the importance of proactive measures, early warning systems, and preparedness to mitigate the impact of such calamities in the future.