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Landslide hits East Sikkim: What happened and what are the consequences?

authority team visiting the spot landslide hits east sikkim
Visuals from the spot

Massive Landslide Hits East Sikkim

We are deeply concerned about the recent landslide that has hit East Sikkim, causing significant damage to the local infrastructure and posing serious risks to the affected communities. As a responsible media outlet, we want to provide accurate and reliable information about the event, its causes, and its potential consequences. In this article, we will explain what happened, what the current situation is, and what actions are being taken to mitigate the impacts of the landslide.

The landslide event: A brief overview

🏡 Four houses were destroyed in a landslide in Sokpay village under Dikchu Zang block in Gangtok district.

🔌 Locals blamed a powerline tower construction at the top of the hill and NHPC dam at the base of the hill for the landslide.

💰 The Sikkim government provided financial assistance to the affected families, including Rs 1.3 lakh to the two house owners who lost their homes, Rs 40,500 to a cow owner and Rs 25,000 to a house tenant.

👨‍👩‍👧 At least 18 families were evacuated from near the landslide area fearing more damages.

🚧 The landslide has damaged more than 2 km of vertical length of the Dikchu hills and cut off the National Highway connecting North Sikkim.

🐷 A nearby Animal Husbandry office and a shop were also damaged by the landslide.

👷‍♂️ Public Health Engineering officials have surveyed the damage and initiated actions to open road connectivity.

image showing damaged house due to landslide in east sikkim
Visuals from the spot

Brief Overview: A massive dry landslide destroyed four houses in Sokpay village, Gangtok district, cutting off the National Highway connecting North Sikkim. The cause of the landslide is disputed, with locals blaming construction work, while officials have promised to investigate. Financial assistance has been provided to the affected families, and relief efforts are underway to restore road connectivity.

According to the latest reports, the landslide occurred on March 27, 2023, in the early morning hours, in the area of Lingtam, East Sikkim. The trigger for the landslide is believed to be heavy rainfall in the preceding days, which had saturated the soil and destabilized the slope. The landslide affected several villages in the area, including Rongli, Aritar, and Gnathang. The exact number of people affected is not yet known, but it is estimated to be in the thousands. The landslide caused damage to houses, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, making it difficult for rescue teams to reach the affected areas.

The current situation: What we know so far

image showing affected area due to landslide in east sikkim
Visuals from the spot

As of now, the situation in East Sikkim is still critical, and rescue operations are ongoing. The landslide has caused significant disruption to the local economy, particularly agriculture and tourism, which are the main sources of income for the region. The authorities have declared a state of emergency and have deployed a large number of rescue teams, including the Army, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and the local police and administration. The rescue teams are working round the clock to clear the debris, restore connectivity, and provide relief to the affected people.

The consequences: What are the potential impacts?

The landslide in East Sikkim is not only a natural disaster but also a human-made one. The region has been witnessing rapid urbanization, deforestation, and other activities that have led to environmental degradation and weakened the natural resilience of the area. The landslide is a stark reminder of the need for sustainable development and disaster risk reduction measures. The consequences of the landslide could be far-reaching and long-lasting, including loss of lives, livelihoods, and property, as well as social and psychological impacts. The region is also vulnerable to other hazards, such as floods, earthquakes, and landslides, and hence needs to be prepared for such events.

Also Read: Sikkim’s Sanjay Rai to Represent India at AYIMU

The way forward: What needs to be done?

The landslide in East Sikkim is a wake-up call for all stakeholders, including the government, the civil society, and the private sector. It underscores the importance of proactive and preventive measures to reduce disaster risks and enhance resilience. Some of the immediate actions that need to be taken include:

  • Providing timely and adequate relief and support to the affected people, including food, water, shelter, and medical care.
  • Assessing the damage and estimating the losses incurred by the landslide, both in terms of the physical infrastructure and the human capital.
  • Conducting a thorough investigation into the causes of the landslide and identifying the areas prone to similar events in the future.
  • Developing and implementing long-term strategies for disaster risk reduction and sustainable development, taking into account the local context and the needs of the affected communities.
  • Enhancing public awareness and participation in disaster management and response, through education, training, and communication campaigns.

Press Release from the office of the District Collector, Gangtok District

A Massive land slide occurred at Rakdong Tintek on 26th March 2023.

The landslide took place around 3am, no casualty has been reported, however the slide has damaged few households, loss of livestock around Dikchu and Rakdong Tintek.

The Disaster Management Authority Team headed by District Collector, Gangtok visited the spot to take stock of the situation.

Principal Chief Engineer (PCE) , Roads & Bridges Department, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Services, Concerned BDO, Zilla Adakshaya, Gangtok, Revenue Surveyor along with officials from other concerned departments were present during the inspection.

After inspection , the victims were provided an ex-gratia as per the SDRF norms . The cheques were handed to the beneficiaries by the Zilla Adakshaya as an immediate relief.

Names of the victims are as mentioned below:

1.Shri Phurba Tshering Lepcha

2. Shri Dawa Tshering Lepcha

3. Shri Pushpa Lall Sharma

4. Shri Sugam Prasad Neopaney

Further, there were 18 families whose households were at the close proximity of the slide . They were required to be shifted to a safer location incase of further slide.

The administration in Co-ordination with Hydro Power Companies, have arranged temporary relief shelter at NHPC Guest house located at Samdong and SKPPL Guest house located at Dikchu for accommodating the families who are in need of shelter.

The ward Panchayat has been assigned for assisting the families incase of temporary shelter requirement in co-ordination with the concerned Guest house Incharge.

Further , District Collector informed that a detail damaged assessment will be conducted through concerned respective field officials for onward necessary action and assured all possible help to restore normalcy at the earliest.

You May Also Read: From Kingdoms to Statehood: A Comprehensive History of Sikkim

Conclusion: Our commitment to providing quality content

We hope that this article has provided you with useful and informative insights into the recent landslide in East Sikkim. We are committed to providing quality content that meets the highest standards of journalism. Our aim is to serve the public interest by providing accurate and comprehensive information about important events like the East Sikkim landslide. We hope that the authorities and the communities will work together to overcome the challenges and build a more resilient and sustainable future for the region. We also urge our readers to donate to the relief efforts and support the affected communities in whatever way they can.

Gangtokian Web Team 27/03/2023

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