Gangtok: In a harrowing turn of events, a glacial lake outburst in South Lhonak Lake, North Sikkim, has led to a flash flood in the Teesta River, inundating the picturesque Lachen valley and leaving 23 Army personnel missing. The catastrophe, which unfolded due to the discharge of water from the Chungthang dam, has inflicted severe damage on the region, particularly affecting Bardang near Singtam.
Unlike the previous flood that hit North Sikkim, this flash flood has brought a surge in water levels, with reports indicating an alarming rise of 15-20 feet downstream. This sudden deluge has wreaked havoc on army establishments, posing a significant challenge to rescue efforts.
No Reported Casualties
As of now, there have been no reported casualties among the missing Army personnel. However, there is growing concern for the safety of security forces working in low-lying areas and laborers who may have been swept away by the powerful floodwaters.
Rescue Operations in Full Swing
Authorities have launched a frantic effort to conduct rescue operations, racing against time to assess the full extent of the damage and locate the missing individuals. The situation remains fluid, with hopes of reuniting the missing Army personnel with their families hanging in the balance.
Sikkim Chief Minister’s Response
Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay wasted no time in responding to the disaster. He reached Singtam town at 8 am on Wednesday to oversee the ongoing rescue and relief efforts. The state government is working in tandem with the armed forces to coordinate their response and provide aid to those affected by the flash flood.
The situation in Sikkim remains fluid, with authorities working tirelessly to address the crisis. The discharge from the Chungthang dam serves as a grim reminder of the environmental challenges faced by regions near glacial lakes and the importance of disaster preparedness in such vulnerable areas.
Gangtokian Web Team, 04/10/23