KC NEWS DESK
New Delhi: At least 53 people, including seven soldiers, have died in the Sikkim flash floods, with 27 more dead bodies found in the Teesta river bed in neighbouring West Bengal over the last three days. Seven of these bodies have been identified.
- Over 140 people are still missing, and thousands have been displaced. The Sikkim government has reported that 1,173 houses have been severely damaged and 2,413 people have been rescued. All bridges downstream to the Teesta-V hydropower station have been submerged or washed out, disrupting communication to North Sikkim.
- Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang chaired a high-level meeting yesterday to chalk out rescue, relief, and restoration strategies. Priority has been given to opening the road connectivity up to Chungthang, while the road from Naga to Toong will be constructed subject to the availability of land as soon as possible. Compensation of ₹ 4 lakh has been announced for the families of those who have been killed.
- Sikkim authorities are prioritising reopening road connectivity to Chungthang and building the road from Naga to Toong subject to land availability. Throughout the day, officers from different departments met with the Chief Secretary to update him on the status of road connectivity, relief and rehabilitation, and rescue operations.
- The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted light to moderate rainfall in most places in Mangan district over the next five days, with generally cloudy to overcast skies in Lachen and Lachung. This makes airlifting over 3,000 stranded tourists challenging.
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) has reported that multiple attempts to carry out rescue and relief operations with Mi-17 helicopters have been unsuccessful for the past two days due to bad weather, low cloud cover, and low visibility in the Lachen and Lachung valleys. The aerial rescue operations are expected to resume early morning today if the weather permits.
- Flash floods cloudburst have ravaged the northeastern state, affecting over 25,000 people, damaging nearly 1,200 homes, and destroying 13 bridges. Rescue workers have saved 2,413 people so far, but 6,875 people remain displaced and are sheltering in 22 relief camps across the state, which is largely cut off from the rest of the country.
- A glacial lake burst triggered flash floods and released water from Chungthang Dam, drastically increasing the water level of the Teesta River on Wednesday morning, causing widespread devastation in the picturesque Himalayan state.
- “Road connectivity between the districts has been cut off and bridges have been washed away. Communication in North Sikkim has been severely affected,” Chief Minister Tamang said, blaming “inferior construction” by previous state governments for the destruction of the Chungthang Dam.
- On Friday, NDTV learnt that a Parliamentary Committee had flagged a severe shortage of meteorological and monitoring stations in the Himalayan regions. On March 29, Sikkim was told in Parliament that it has 694 glacial lakes and eight flood forecasting stations, three for water levels and five for inflows.
- Home Minister Amit Shah has approved the release of ₹ 44.8 crore in advance from the central share of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to provide relief to people affected by the floods. The Home Ministry has also formed an Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) to visit the affected areas and assess the damage.