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HomeIndiaFlash Floods Killed 74 in the Indian Himalayas as Rescue Efforts Intensify

Flash Floods Killed 74 in the Indian Himalayas as Rescue Efforts Intensify

Himalayan Tragedy: Flash Floods Leave Death and Destruction in Their Wake, Stranded Tourists Safe but Challenges Persist

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Rangpo, India, Oct 10 (The Street Press) – Flash floods in India’s Himalayas caused by a bursting glacial lake have sadly led to 74 people losing their lives. Currently, 101 people are still missing since the disaster happened, as shared by local officials.

After continuous heavy rainfall in the northeastern state of Sikkim, there were torrents of water that flowed down narrow river valleys from Lohnak Lake. This caused damage to a dam and brought destruction to villages and Rangpo town, which is approximately 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the state capital, Gangtok.

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According to Sikkim’s Chief Secretary, Vijay Bhushan Pathak, who is the highest-ranking bureaucrat, rescuers have located 25 bodies within the state. Additionally, the bodies of eight army personnel who were swept away were discovered in the neighboring downstream state of West Bengal.

Pathak also mentioned that 101 people are still missing, which is another unfortunate event in a series of natural disasters triggered by extreme weather in the Himalayas. Among those missing, the statement from the defense ministry noted that fourteen were army personnel.

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The search for survivors has been made challenging due to damaged roads, communication difficulties, and adverse weather conditions. Local residents are also facing the daunting task of clearing sludge and debris following one of the most severe disasters in this remote region in over half a century.

In West Bengal, Parveen Shama, the top district official of Jalpaiguri, reported the discovery of 41 bodies in the district.

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In response, the federal government issued a statement indicating that Chief Secretary Pathak had informed the National Crisis Management Committee that road connectivity has been restored in most areas. Additionally, 28 relief camps have been set up, providing shelter to over 6,800 people affected by the disaster.

Due to improved weather conditions, there is now an opportunity to initiate the evacuation and airlift of stranded individuals. According to Chief Secretary Pathak, 80 people were successfully evacuated this morning, as stated in the official statement.

PRIORITY TO CONNECTIVITY AND EVACUATION

Federal Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba emphasized the need to prioritize the deployment of portable bridges, known as Bailey bridges, to swiftly restore road connectivity in areas where bridges have been washed away, as mentioned in the statement.

“Evacuation of people in shortest possible time should be the priority,” emphasized Gauba.

Sikkim, a predominantly Buddhist state with a population of around 650,000, is nestled in the mountainous region between Nepal, Bhutan, and China. It experienced exceptionally heavy rainfall, receiving 101 mm (four inches) of rain in the first five days of October, which is more than double the usual levels.

Notably, in October 1968, Sikkim faced another tragic event when an estimated 1,000 people lost their lives in floods.

Mukesh Kumar, a 43-year-old migrant worker in Rangpo, shared his harrowing experience, explaining that he and his neighbors had only about 10 minutes to flee before the flash flood struck.

“Had we not left for another two minutes, we might have drowned,” Kumar said, his gaze fixed on the muck and debris that now covered his living quarters.

Local residents informed Reuters that many individuals living on the ground floor of buildings likely could not have survived the sudden deluge.

Baiju Sharma, a 45-year-old furniture business owner, examined the aftermath of the disaster and remarked, “Where you are standing is 15 feet (4.5 metres) higher than earlier. You are standing on his house,” as he pointed toward his neighbor’s residence.

Government officials provided reassuring news, stating that approximately 2,000 tourists stranded in isolated parts of northern Sikkim were confirmed to be safe. State authorities and the army had taken measures to supply them with food and communication resources, enabling them to get in touch with their families during this difficult time.

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Sk Sahiluddin
Sk Sahiluddinhttps://www.thestreetpress.in/
Sk Sahiluddin is a seasoned journalist and media professional with a passion for delivering accurate and impactful news coverage to a global audience. As the Editor of The Street Press India, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the editorial direction and ensuring the highest journalistic standards are upheld.
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