Sikkim Flash Floods Live Updates: A cloud burst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim resulted in a flash flood in the Teesta River in Lachen Valley yesterday (4 October). At least 14 people died and 102 went missing after the cloudburst in the tiny hilly state. The flood in Sikkim that started around 1.30 am was made worse by the release of water from Chungthang dam. Several towns, including Dikchu, Singtam, and Rangpo located in the Teesta basin, have also been flooded with the upsurge in the river. Over 3,000 tourists are reported to be stranded in different parts of Sikkim while some 166 people have so far been rescued, including the army man.
Mint's LIVE blog will update you with the latest news on the Sikkim floods:
Sikkim flash floods LIVE Updates:
19 dead, 103 missing in flash floods; school, colleges shut till 15 October. Check latest updates here
CM asks officials to stop issuing tourist permits
Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang has asked officials to stop issuing permits to tourists in popular destinations like Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathula from Friday.
26 people hospitalised with injuries, nearly 100 remain missing
Twenty-six people have suffered injuries and were undergoing treatment at various hospitals across Sikkim.
Flood destroys 11 bridges in Sikkim
The flood destroyed 11 bridges in the state, of which eight bridges were washed away in Mangan district alone. Two bridges were destroyed in Namchi and one in Gangtok. Water pipelines, sewage lines and 277 houses, both kuchcha and concrete, have been destroyed in the four affected districts.
Army jawan from Odisha dies in Sikkim flash flood; CM condoles death
An Army jawan from Odisha who was missing in Sikkim flash floods along with 22 other army personnel was found dead on Thursday. Saroj Kumar Das, a resident of Kendudhipa village of Odisha's Dhenkanal district, was at the Army camp when a sudden cloudburst triggered flash flood in Teesta river in North Sikkim.
“I am saddened to hear about the martyrdom of Odia jawan Saroj Kumar Das in an incident that occurred due to the floods in Sikkim. His sacrifice in the service of the country will always be remembered. May his soul rest in peace. I pay my condolences to the bereaved family members," CM Patnaik said on X.
Sikkim govt advises tourists to postpone their travel
Deadly flooding likely caused by avalanche
A Himalayan glacial lake in India probably burst its banks this week after chunks of ice fell into it in an apparent avalanche following heavy rains, triggering deadly flash floods in a small mountain state, experts told Reuters.
Families wait to hear from loved ones as communication breaks down
Tseten Lepcha, who lives in Chungthang with his family, was out of town when the incident took place, however, his son, daughter-in-law and 8-month-old granddaughter were in the village.
"The last time my family communicated with them before they left at midnight with the family to a cousin's house at Bop Village. This disaster is of unprecedented scale and worst case scenario for the area and people affected. We are shocked and helpless at the moment and very sad with the trauma and sense of loss experienced by all those who lost their houses and everything they had in it," Lepcha told ANI on the telephone from Gangtok.
Death toll rises to 18
The death toll from the Sikkim flash floods has now risen to 18. State chief secretary VB Pathak told Reuters that 98 people were missing as of Thursday evening. Of these 17 were Army personnel.
Sikkim’s biggest hydro power project suffers massive damage
A GLOF occurred in parts of Lhonak Lake this week – What does this mean?
GLOFs occur when lakes formed by melting glaciers suddenly burst open. This can happen due to various reasons, such as excessive water accumulation in the lake or triggers like earthquakes. When the lake bursts, it releases an enormous volume of water all at once, causing flash floods downstream. These floods can be extremely destructive and perilous for both people and the environment in the affected area.
Met forecasts heavy rain in sub-Himalayan Bengal districts till Friday
The Meteorological department on Thursday warned of heavy to very heavy rain in the sub-Himalayan districts of West Bengal till Friday morning owing to a low-pressure area. The weather office also forecast heavy rain in some districts of south Bengal owing to the system.
‘Govt fully committed to providing relief…’: CM Prem Singh Tamang visits Singtam
"I want to assure you that the government is fully committed to providing all necessary assistance and relief to those in need. We understand the magnitude of the situation and are mobilising all available resources to ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens. Our dedicated teams are working day and night to address the immediate concerns and challenges posed by this calamity. I urge the administration, local authorities, all organisations, and individuals to join hands in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation. Together, we can make a significant difference in providing relief to those affected and rebuilding our communities," he said.
Aftermath of flash floods in Dikchu | Watch
What is the extent of damage in Sikkim?
14 people have been confirmed killed while more than a hundred remain missing. Tens of thousands have been displaced with many now sheltering in relief camps. Authorities said roads had been "severely" damaged and 14 bridges had been washed away. Many areas remain without connectivity and network as rescue work continues.
The Sikkim state government said that water had powered downstream, adding to a river already swollen by monsoon rains, damaging a dam, sweeping away houses and bridges, and causing "serious destruction". Damage was recorded more than 120 kilometres (75 miles) downstream.
Efforts underway to restore communication lines in Sikkim
The flash floods have cut communications across large swathes of Sikkim. The Army said in a statement that it was working to reestablish telephone connections and provide "medical aid to tourists and locals stranded".
Indian Army tries to recover trucks buried in the flood-hit area
More than 3,000 tourists feared stranded in crisis-hit Sikkim
Injuries and missing person reports have come in from Chungthang in Mangan district, and Dikchu, Singtam in Gangtok district and Rangpo in Pakyong district. Over 3,000 tourists are feared to be stranded in different parts of the State. 12-14 workers working in the Teesta Stage 3 dam in Chungthang are still stranded in the tunnels of the dam.
Indian Army extends support to civillians as rescue efforts continue
25 relief camps have been set up for those forced to flee their homes in the aftermath of the Sikkim flash floods.
Troops of Trishakti Corps are extending medical aid and telephone connectivity to civilians and tourists stranded in the areas of Chungthang, Lachung and Lachen in North Sikkim.
"Amidst the disaster caused by the Sikkim flash floods, soldiers of Brahmastra Corps provided relief, shelter, food and medical aid to approx 250 stranded civilians and children at the Government Secondary School in Sirwani," the Eastern Command added, tweeting pictures from the site.
Search for 22 missing Indian Army personnel continues
Continued efforts are on to dig out the vehicles submerged under the slush at Burdang near Singtam. The search for the missing people is now focusing in the areas downstream of Teesta River. One of the missing army officials was rescued alive on the evening of October 4. The family members of the missing persons have been contacted and informed about the situation.
Bengal governor takes stock of flood situation in state, cavalcade met with black flags - WATCH
Sikkim CM Prem Singh Tamang holds high-level meeting to assess the situation
“A high-level meeting was convened at Mintokgang to assess the current situation and evaluate the extent of damages. I have issued instructions to all pertinent officials, departments, District Magistrates (DMs), and Superintendents of Police (SPs) to maintain a state of heightened vigilance and attend to the requirements of the affected public with utmost diligence. In order to ensure accurate and timely information dissemination, the Chief Secretary (CS) will provide daily updates to the press," he tweeted.
Know the help desk numbers for affected people in Sikkim:
Two NHPC power plants affected in Sikkim
State-owned NHPC's two hydro power plants in Teesta Basin in Sikkim have been affected following flash floods on Wednesday.
According to a BSE filing, the two affected projects are Teesta-V Power Station (510 MW) and Teesta-VI (500 MW), being executed by Lanco Teesta Hydro Power Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NHPC.
"It is also to inform that considering the emergent situation, all units of Teesta-V Power Station have been shut down," the filing said.
Toll rises to 14 in Sikkim flash flood
Fourteen bodies have been found so far while 102 people – including 22 Army personnel – remained missing. The search for the 22 missing soldiers was continuing with a focus on the downstream areas as the fast-flowing river is likely to have carried them to the lower reaches.
About Sikkim geology and geomorphology
East district is a part of the Eastern Himalayas Five geological units encountered in the district are Kanchenjunga gneiss, Darjeeling gneiss, Chungthang schists and gneiss, lingtse granite gneiss and the daling group of rocks.
In the East District out of the total geographic area (964 sq km) , 679 sq km of area is covered by forest which is 71.17% of the total geographic area. The major drainage systems in the East district are Teesta, Rangpo Chhu, and Dik Chhu.
The Teesta basin in Sikkim Himalaya hosts numerous glacial lakes in the high-altitude glacierised region, including one of the largest and fastest-growing South Lhonak Lake.
Sikkim has 733 glacial lakes, with 288 located above an altitude of 5,000 m, according to the Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC). The South Lhonak Lake is located at 5,200 m (17,100 ft) above sea level. It formed due to the melting of the Lhonak glacier.
Old study warned about threat of lake bursting in Sikkim
A study by an international team of researchers had warned two year ago that the South Lhonak lake in Sikkim may burst in the future and significantly impact the downstream region.
The 2021 study, published in the journal Geomorphology, highlighted that South Lhonak Lake had witnessed a significant growth in the past decades due to glacial retreat, thereby increasing its chances of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF).
GLOFs occur when lakes formed by melting glaciers suddenly burst open. This can happen due to various reasons, such as too much water accumulating in the lake.
Sikkim updates: Rescue efforts are on at Burdan
The Defence Ministry has said that the search for the missing people is on in areas around the Teesta river in Sikkim. Besides, efforts to dig out vehicles submerged under the slush at Burdang near Singtam.
What triggered Sikkim flood? NDMA answers
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said the possible cause of flash flood in Sikkim could be a combination of excess rainfall and a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) event at South Lhonak lake.
Himalayan ranges are host to many glacial lakes, estimated through remote sensing techniques at about 7,500 and of these, Sikkim has around 10 per cent of which nearly 25 are assessed to be at-risk.
"While scientists are investigating the exact cause of the flash flood, the primary reason for the sudden surge appears to be a likely combination of excess rainfall and a GLOF (Glacial Lake Outburst Flood) event at South Lhonak lake in North Sikkim," NDMA said.
Sikkim flood LIVE: 2,011 people rescued, over 22,000 affected
According to the latest updates, 2,011 people have been rescued among 22,034 affected people in Sikkim.
The State government has set up 26 relief camps in the four affected districts. A total of 1,025 people are taking shelter in the eight relief camps in Gangtok district.
Sikkim flood news updates: CM takes stock of situation
Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang visited Singtam, on of the worst affected areas, and took stock of the situation on Thursday.
CM Tamang urged the people to stay alert and take shelter in safe locations, and assured that the government is making all necessary arrangements for their rehabilitation.
Tamang also chaired an emergency meeting at the Singtam Community Centre.
"I want to assure you that the government is fully committed to providing all necessary assistance and relief to those in need. We understand the magnitude of the situation and are mobilising all available resources to ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens," he said.
Sikkim news updates: Over 5,000 people affected; relief work continues
"More than 5,000 people across villages have been affected. Necessary relief is being provided to them," says Anit Thapa, Chief Executive, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration said.
Sikkim news updates: 16 houses damaged, over 100 people taken to relief camp
Sikkim flood LIVE: 16 houses damaged, more than 100 people taken to a relief camp in a nearby government school in Dikchu of Mangan District. Search and rescue operation is underway.
Sikkim flood LIVE: Tales of people affected by flooded Teesta
The flash flood in Sikkim created chaos in many other ways, including stranding people in both Sikkim and the plains of northern Bengal.
A group of tourists from Kolkata on a motorcycle-cum-trekking trip was stuck near Singtem without food. The highway that links Sikkim to the rest of India, had been washed away or had caved in at different areas.
Ramakant Yadav, 33, a construction worker bound for Sikkim was stuck at the New Jalpaiguri railway station with eight of his mates.
They are among hundreds of tourists, workers, and students who are stuck at the railway station.
Sikkim flood LIVE: 1 soldier rescued
One Soldier out of the 23 missing due to flash flood has been rescued. His condition is stable and is under medical care, according to Defence PRO.
Sikkim floods LIVE: NHPC power stations affected due to flash flood
Projects of NHPC, including its wholly owner subsidiary, situated in Teesta basin were affected due to flash floods in Sikkim. According to the BSE press statement, the Teesta-V power station (510 MW), and Teesta-VI project (500 MW) were affected in Sikim.
All the units of Teesta-V power stations have been shut, the company informed the stock exchanges.
Sikkim flood: Watch how BRO carrying out rescue operations
Project Swastik of BRO carried out damage mitigation along with rescue operations in coordination with State Administration in severely affected Chungthang and Mangan area of North Sikkim where four critical bridges have been severely damaged.
Congress advises Govt to take fragile Himalayan states ‘seriously’
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday voiced concern over the situation in Sikkim. Kharge said, "The Union Government must recalibrate its strategy in dealing with ecologically fragile Himalayan states and must declare such tragedies, like Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh, as natural disasters so that these states get adequate funds to rebuild themselves in a more sustainable manner".
Sikkim cloudburst causes flooding in 4 Bengal districts
The Sikkim flood has also impacted four districts of Bengal. According to the ANI news agency, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, and Cooch Behar have been inundated after more than 8000 cubic metres per second of water was released from the Teesta barrage.
Sikkim flood LIVE: Flash floods disrupt operations at pharma firm
Sikkim: Manufacturing operations at drugmaker Alembic Pharmaceuticals facility have been disrupted in the wake of flash floods.
Sikkim flood LIVE: Visuals of devastation in Sikkim
PTI news agency shared visuals of the devastation caused by the flash flood in the Teesta River in Sikkim.
Sikkim news LIVE updates: Several red flags ignored, says report
According to a report by the Hindustan Times, various government agencies and scientific expeditions red-flagged the vulnerability of Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim to a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) for at least a decade.
A report compiled by the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) in 2019 notes that in 2013, scientists from the National Remote Sensing Centre in Hyderabad reported that the Lhonak Lake, at a height of 5,245 metres above sea level, was “highly vulnerable".
It warned of the possibility of “flash floods" with important infrastructure such as dams and powerhouses susceptible to damage.
A second expedition to South Lhonak Lake was carried out in September 2016, by a team from the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority, the Indo-Tibetan Police Force, and the Students Education and Cultural Movement of Ladakh led by Sonam Wangchuk. That team found that “engineering intervention was not feasible" because of the threat of dead ice melting. Read more
Sikkim flood updates: Police station destroyed
A police station in Chungthang has been destroyed due to flash flood in Sikkim. Mobile network connection and fibre cable lines were also destroyed yesterday in Chungthang and most of North Sikkim.
Flood in Bengal LIVE: West Bengal Governor visits flood-affected areas
West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose arrives in Bagdogra to visit the flash flood-affected areas in Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, and Kalimpong.
Sikkim flood LIVE updates: Indian Army starts helpline numbers
The Indian Army has started three helplines for families of missing people in Sikkim including its own soldiers. The numbers are given below:
Army Helpline No for North Sikkim - 8750887741
Army Helpline for East Sikkim - 8756991895
Army Helpline for missing soldiers - 7588302011
Sikkim flash flood LIVE: Dalai Lama expresses grief over loss of life
The Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, has expressed his grief over the loss of life and widespread damage to property that occurred in Sikkim as a result of a flash flood on Tuesday night.
"His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his sadness about the loss of life and widespread damage to property that has occurred in Sikkim as a result of the flash flood that took place in the Teesta River Valley last night," according to an official statement.
"I offer my condolences to families who have lost loved ones," he wrote, "as well as others affected by this disaster, and pray for their welfare," Dalai Lama said.
Flood in Bengal: 10,000 people rescued, shifted to 190 relief camps
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that 10,000 people have been rescued and kept in 190 relief camps in nine districts in the southern and northern parts of the state due to a flood-like situation in the state.
Altogether 5,800 people were evacuated in Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, and Cooch Behar districts in the northern part of the state, while 5,018 others were rescued in Howrah, Hooghly, Paschim Medinipur, Purulia and Bankura districts in the south.
The northern part of West Bengal shares a border with Sikkim which witnessed a flash flood in the Teesta river. Read more
Sikkim flood LIVE updates: 10 dead, 82 missing
At least ten people died and 82 people are missing, including 22 army personnel after a cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in north Sikkim triggered a flash flood in the Teesta River basin.
ISRO conducts satellite image-based studies of South Lhonak lake
"It is observed that Lake is Burst and about 105 hectares area has been drained out (28 September 2023 image versus 04 October 2023) which might have created a flash flood downstream," an ISRO statement said on Wednesday.
The space agency said it will continue monitoring the lake further using the satellite data.
Did Nepal quake triggered Sikkim disaster? Here's what we know
Scientists are exploring whether the earthquake that hit Nepal might be a cause of the flash floods in Sikkim. The lake was already vulnerable and covered an area of 168 hectares. Its area has now reduced to 60 hectares, indicating that about 100 hectares of water volume has breached the level, explained a senior official at the Central Water Commission (CWC) to PTI. The official stated that while it's difficult to determine right now, a cloud burst does not cause such results. Some experts who have visited the site believe that the earthquake may have triggered the floods there.
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