The Avalanche at Nathula: What Happened?
Gangtok: On April 4th, 2023, an avalanche hit Nathula, a popular tourist destination in Sikkim. The incident occurred around 11:10 am, burying several people and vehicles under the snow. As per the latest reports, the death toll has risen to 7, while many more are still feared trapped in the snow.
As per the latest reports, another slide was experienced at the same place at 5.35 pm on Tuesday. Rescue and search operations have been halted for the day, Indian Army officials said. JNM Road Axis will remain closed until the snow clears. All personnel involved in the rescue mission are reported to be safe, officials said.
Sikkim: Avalanche hits Nathula; Real-Time Updates
📑 Report shared from the office of the District Collector- Gangtok during the Press Conference held at his office chamber today to address issues regarding the Avalanche that hit Nathula JNM Road near MS 15 on 04.04.2023.
🔴 7 people have died, while 13 persons among the injured were given first hand treatment at STNM report.
🏥 350 stranded tourists have been rescued and are receiving medical care, and 80 vehicles were rescued after snow clearance by the Army, State Disaster Management Team and Police.
🌨️ The cause of the avalanche is yet to be determined, but locals believe it could be due to heavy snowfall and sudden changes in temperature.
💼 Sikkim Police, Travel Agents Association of Sikkim, tourism department officials, and vehicle drivers are working together to carry out rescue operations.
🏥 Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang visited STNM Hospital and met those who were injured in the avalanche that hit Gangtok-Nathu La JNM Road at around 11:10 am.
Rescue Operations and Relief Efforts
At least seven people succumbed to their injuries after being rescued at the nearby Army Hospital. The victims include four men, two women, and a child.
Nathula Pass is situated on the border with China and is a major tourist destination because of its scenic beauty. According to eyewitnesses, some tourists were playing with snow and taking pictures around the location, while others were trying to climb the hills above when the avalanche occurred.
As per information shared by Inspector General for Checkpost Sonam Tenzing Bhutia, passes were issued for only 13th Mile, but tourists went forcefully to 15th Mile. The incident happened at 15th Mile.
350 stranded tourists have been rescued and are receiving medical care, and 80 vehicles were rescued after snow clearance by the Army, State Disaster Management Team, and Police. Out of 20 victims of the avalanche brought to STNM Hospital, seven persons have succumbed while thirteen are injured.
At present, rescue operations are being carried out by the Indian Army, BRO, Sikkim Police, Travel Agents Association of Sikkim, tourism department officials, and vehicle drivers. The officials are doing their best to save as many people as possible.
The cause of the avalanche is yet to be determined, but locals believe it could be due to a combination of heavy snowfall and sudden changes in temperature. Nathula has been experiencing unusually heavy snowfall this year, which has made the region more prone to avalanches.
A control room has been set up at Gangtok's Sadar Police Station for missing persons. For any queries, please contact: 03592202033 and 8695622101.
Impact on the Tourism Industry
Nathula is a popular tourist destination, and the avalanche is expected to have a significant impact on the tourism industry in Sikkim. The incident has already resulted in several cancellations, and travel advisories have been issued to avoid visiting Nathula until further notice.
The local authorities are closely monitoring the situation, and steps are being taken to ensure the safety of tourists. However, it is advised to postpone any travel plans to Nathula until the situation stabilizes.
The avalanche at Nathula is a tragic incident, and we offer our deepest sympathies to the affected families. The incident has once again highlighted the need for proper safety measures in tourist destinations prone to natural disasters. It is also a reminder of the importance of being prepared for such situations.
Gangtokian Web Team, Update: 05/04/2023