Troops of Trishakti Corps Indian Army with the help of the Border Road Organisation (BRO) completed another significant Bailey bridge over Zeema Chu at Zeema in Sikkim.
At least five people have died and dozens, including 23 Army personnel, have gone missing after a cloudburst induced flash flood in the Teesta River in Sikkim. According to state government, a cloud burst over Lhonak Lake and caused sudden rise of water levels downstream along the Teesta River basin in the early hours of Wednesday.
The flash flood ravaged four districts of Sikkim – Mangan, Gangtok, Pakyong, and Namchi. Mangan was the worst hit. Some areas of Bengal were also inundated and suffered significant damage due to the sudden rise in Teesta River’s water level.
The flood started around Tuesday night after the cloudburst over Lhonak Lake. However, the situation worsened after release of water from the Chungthang dam, which led to a sudden increase in the water levels up to 15-20 feet high downstream.
“Due to a sudden cloud burst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim, a flash flood occurred in Teesta River in Lachen Valley. Some army establishments along the valley have been affected and efforts are on to confirm details. 23 personnel have been reported missing and some vehicles are reported submerged under the slush. Search operations are underway,” Defence PRO, Guwahati said.
A massive search operation is underway to locate the missing Army personnel. Search and rescue operation is also on for several other missing persons.
Houses submerged, roads, bridges washed away
Several houses in the worst-hit Mangan district were submerged in the flood waters and many vehicles swept away in the flood. At least six bridges, including the Indreni bridge, were washed away in the flash flood.
#Sikkim: Damages caused by flooding of the /Teesta?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Teesta river in and around #Singtam, including washing away of the Indreni bridge. Videos: Shekhar Khawas #SikkimCloudburst pic.twitter.com/xtXED6zeHJ
— AIR News Gangtok (@airnews_gangtok) October 4, 2023
Parts of National Highway-10, which connects Sikkim to the rest of the country, were also washed away. Several other roads in the four flood-hit Sikkim districts also sustained significant damage.
Meanwhile, a flood alert has also been sounded for North Bengal and Bangladesh. The 414 km long Teesta River rises in the Pauthunri Mountain and flows through Sikkim and West Bengal before entering Bangladesh.
Sikkim govt declares catastrophe a “disaster”
The state government has declared the catastrophe a “disaster” under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang and assured all the possible help from Centre.
CM Tamang said that emergency services have been mobilized to the affected areas. He also visited Singtam to assess the damage and engage with the locals.
“I humbly urge all our citizens to remain vigilant and refrain from unnecessary travel during this critical time. It is essential that we maintain composure and hope for a swift return to normalcy in our region,” he said.