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Business News/ News / India/  Sikkim floods: Death toll rises to 30 as rescuers find 62 missing people alive, Central team set to visit on Sunday

Sikkim floods: Death toll rises to 30 as rescuers find 62 missing people alive, Central team set to visit on Sunday

Toll in Sikkim flash flood rises to 30, 62 missing persons found alive

Indian Army officers inspect the damage caused by flash floods triggered by heavy rainfall in Naga village of north Sikkim (PTI) (HT_PRINT)Premium
Indian Army officers inspect the damage caused by flash floods triggered by heavy rainfall in Naga village of north Sikkim (PTI) (HT_PRINT)

The toll in the flash flood in Sikkim rose to 30 as four more bodies were found on Saturday, while 62 people who were reported missing earlier were found alive in the state which will be visited by an inter-ministerial team of the central government to assess damage.

The number of missing people now is 81 for whom search operations are on in full swing, the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) said in its latest bulletin on Saturday evening. The flash flood triggered by a cloudburst in the early hours of Wednesday affected 41,870 people in four districts of the Himalayan state, with Mangan bearing the brunt of the calamity as a population of around 30,300 were hit by the disaster, it said. The other three affected districts are Gangtok, Pakyang and Namchi. Of the 30 deaths - four were in Mangan, six in Gangtok district, 19 in Pakyong and one in Namchi. The report said that the 19 deceased people in Pakyong included nine army men. Twenty-three soldiers had gone missing on October 3 and one of them was rescued earlier.

The Army continues to search for the remaining missing personnel. Special radar, drones and Army Dogs have been employed for the job. Of the 39 army vehicles that had also gone missing that day, 15 were recovered so far from below slush several feet deep, officials said. Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra said that a team comprising senior officers of five central ministries - agriculture, road transport & highways, water resources, energy and finance - will visit the northeastern state from Sunday to assess the damage caused by the flash flood.

"The team will visit Sikkim from tomorrow to take stock of the ground situation, assess the extent of damage and provide assistance wherever necessary," the union minister of state for home affairs told reporters here.

Mishra asked the state government officials to prepare short-term and long-term plans to effectively accomplish the task of rebuilding the damaged infrastructure in the shortest possible time.

The Centre has approved the release of 44.8 crore as an advance amount from the central share of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to Sikkim to provide relief to flash floods-affected people. Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang on Saturday visited the disaster-affected areas in north Sikkim and inspected damaged infrastructures.

He also chaired a meeting with Zilla and ward members of Toong Naga Gram Panchayat Unit alongside representatives of GREF, BRO and officials of concerned departments. During the meeting, it was decided to immediately establish a route for transportation to bring in relief materials by road. The chief minister inspected the spot of the Sankalan bridge (Dzongu) that has been washed away. A 55-metre-long Bailey bridge over the Sankalan river will be built soon to restore vehicular movement between Dzongu and Mangane, he said, adding that a zip line has been installed with the help of locals for quick transportation of groceries and other basic amenities towards Dzongu which is completely cut off at present.

A zip line is a cable or rope stretched between two points of different heights, down which a person or materials can slide with the help of a suspended harness, pulley or handle.

National Highway 10, the lifeline of Sikkim, has been rendered unusable due to damage to the road surface and many bridges across the Teesta River. The opening and widening process of the stretch between Rangpo and Singtam is in progress.

Alternate routes to the state capital Gangtok are available via East Sikkim and routes to West and South Sikkim are also available. However, in North Sikkim, roads beyond Mangan are currently cut off.

Tamang also visited a relief camp located at ITI Chadey where 32 families of the affected areas have been sheltered.

He also handed over financial aid for emergency purposes to the family members.

Tamang earlier announced an ex-gratia of 4 lakh for the families of the deceased and an immediate relief of 2,000 each for all those taking shelter in the camps. So far, 2,563 people have been rescued from different areas and 6,875 people have taken shelter in 30 relief camps set up across the state, most of which have been cut off from the rest of the country. The deluge also damaged more than 1,320 houses and washed away 13 bridges in the four districts of the picturesque Himalayan state, said the report. More than 3,000 tourists stranded in Lachen and Lachung in Mangan district of Sikkim after the flash flood hit the area, are safe, officials said on Saturday.

The Indian Air Force made multiple attempts to carry out rescue and relief operations by Mi-17 helicopters but was unable to fly from Bagdogra as well as Chaten due to inclement weather.

The army along with the local administration has been extending assistance to the stranded tourists and locals by providing food, medical aid and telephone connectivity through satellite terminals.

Teams have collected data on all the tourists staying in various hotels and some of them have been accommodated in Army camps, officials said.

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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Published: 08 Oct 2023, 01:54 AM IST
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