Flood situation is being triggered in North Sikkim due to a sudden cloudburst over Lake Lhonak on 4 October i.e. wednesday. This flood took place due to the sudden rise in water level of the Teesta river in Lachen valley.
Teesta river is 414 km long and flows through the states of Sikkim and West Bengal, later entering Bangladesh. The river has swollen from the overnight rain and cloudburst. Alert has been issued to avoid going near the river frontier. Outrageous flow of the river has already washed away the Indreni bridge at Singtam. The flood situation in the river is speculated to remain the same by tomorrow morning, according to the Indian Meteorological Department.
Central Water Commision data:
According to reports, the flood started at 1:30 AM in the night. But the water levels of Teesta river were below the danger point till 1 PM, according to CWC data. Also there was no flood situation till that time. CWC had reported that in the area of Melli, Singtam and Rohtak the water level was below but hovering near the danger mark.
Chungthang Dam Impact:
The rain has severely affected the northern regions of Gangtok for around 150 km along the Chinese borders. Chungthang Dam had to release water immediately due to rising water levels but it negatively impacted the regions on the downhill where the water level rose up to 15-20 feet.
23 army troops missing:
Twenty-three army personnels have been reported missing since the cloudburst, according to Lt. Col Mahendra Rawat (defense spokesperson). Around 41 army vehicles which were parked at Bardang have submerged under the water due to the cause. An official in the city of Guwahati said, “Some army establishments along the valley have been affected and efforts are on to confirm details.”
Sikkim Flood’s Human Toll and Infrastructure Havoc:
Along with Indian troops, some 20 civilians are reported missing with 5 people dead. The army and local administration have been continuously trying to search for all missing individuals. Two bridges that link the northern regions with the state have been completely destroyed, causing disruptions in the area’s transportation services. Other than Gangtok, neighboring areas have also suffered property losses due to the flood.
BRO (Border Road Organisation) has already sent a rescue team to the location and have successfully evacuated 80 people so far, according to the officials. Evacuation from the low-lying areas has also started for the safety purpose. As per a government official, “All the affected people of Singtam town have been taken to safe places and residents of Dikchu Village along the river belt have been evacuated to a nearby school.”
One of the army officials discussed how the severe conditions of continuous rain and thunderstorms have been causing difficulty in the rescue mission.
Chief Minister PS Tamang’s visit:
Sikkim CM Prem Singh made a visit to Singtam to evaluate the extent of the damage caused by the flash flood in the Teesta river basin and to assess the state’s current condition. He called for a meeting with high ranking officials in the Nagar Panchayat office to discuss the matter and provide guidance. CM later addressed the problematic condition of the Hydroelectric power project site due to increasing water levels.
CM PS Tamang said, “Nobody has been injured but there has been significant damage to the public property. Some people are reported missing, but the rescue operations are on.” Taking the situation under consideration, all schools will remain closed till 8 October in the main four affected districts of Sikkim, namely Mangan, Gangtok, Pakyong, and Namchi.
PM Narendra Modi tweets:
PM Modi has talked with the Sikkim’s CM and assured him to provide any kind of assistance possible. In his tweet on X, PM was seen to be praying for the well-being and safety of the residents of SIkkim.
West Bengal CM Mamta Banerjee has also raised her deep concerns on the flood situations in Sikkim and offered assistance. She has requested maximum vigilance in Northern Bengal to prevent disaster.