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Sikkim flash floods: One soldier rescued out of 23 missing army personnel, search operation underway

Image Source : PTI Flooded Teesta river in north Sikkim

Amid the massive flash floods in Sikkim, a soldier has been rescued out of 23 army personnel who went missing on Wednesday. The army personnel went missing after a cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in north Sikkim triggered a flash flood in the Teesta River basin. According to the Indian Army, the condition of the rescued soldier is stable and has been placed under medical observation. The search operation is underway to find the missing personnel, it added. 

What led to the flash floods?

According to reports, at least eight people have died and 49 others are still missing in the Northeastern state. The flood in Sikkim that started around 1.30 am was made worse by the release of water from Chungthang dam, the officials said. The release of water from the Chungthang dam led to a sudden increase in water levels up to 15-20 feet high downstream, defence spokesperson Lt Col Mahendra Rawat said. 

Several towns, including Dikchu, Singtam and Rangpo located in the Teesta basin, have also been flooded with the upsurge in the river. Meanwhile, all schools located in Mangan, Gangtok, Pakyong and Namchi districts will remain closed till October 8, the education department said in a circular. Parts of National Highway-10, the main link between Sikkim and the rest of the country, were washed away, the officials said. They further added that a flood alert has been issued for North Bengal and Bangladesh through which the Teesta flows.

Flash floods damaged many establishments

The Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority stated that a “cloudburst in portions of Lhonak Lake, which caused the rise of water levels with very high velocities downstream along the Teesta River basin in the early hours of Wednesday” damaged many establishments in Mangan, Gangtok, Pakyong, and Namchi.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister PS Tamang visited Singtam and took stock of the situation. He also held a meeting with senior officials at the Singtam Nagar Panchayat office and asked them to keep vigil. In a post on social media, Tamang said his thoughts and prayers are with all during this difficult hour. “In these challenging times, I want to extend my heartfelt support to all the victims and their families affected by this unfortunate event,” the Chief Minister stated. 

(With PTI inputs)

ALSO READ: PM Modi speaks to Sikkim CM Prem Singh Tamang in wake of flash floods, assures all possible support

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