The catastrophe was triggered by a sudden cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim, causing an...
Digital Desk: A devastating flash flood struck the picturesque Lachen Valley in Sikkim on Tuesday night, leaving 23 Army personnel missing, according to officials. The catastrophe was triggered by a sudden cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim, causing an abrupt surge in water levels in the Teesta River. The situation was further exacerbated by the release of water from the Chungthang dam downstream, with water levels surging to alarming heights of 15-20 feet.
Army vehicles parked near Singtam at Bardang were swept away by the raging floodwaters, sparking frantic search and rescue operations to locate the missing soldiers.
In addition to the human toll, the flash flood inflicted extensive damage on several Army establishments along the Lachen Valley. Authorities are working diligently to assess the full scope of the destruction. The Singtham footbridge over the Teesta River collapsed due to the force of the overflowing water, and sections of National Highway 10, which connects West Bengal to Sikkim, were washed away. Roads across the region have been rendered impassable or blocked in the aftermath of the deluge.
The Sikkim government has issued a high alert throughout the state and urged residents to stay away from the Teesta River. Meanwhile, the Jalpaiguri administration in neighboring West Bengal has initiated evacuations in the lower catchment area of the river as a precautionary measure.
This disaster comes just a few months after a severe flash flood wreaked havoc in North Sikkim, particularly affecting the Pegong area in June. The earlier flood led to the complete closure of NH10 and caused extensive damage to infrastructure along the highway, rendering it unsafe for vehicular traffic. The overflow of nearby rivers due to intense monsoon rains left areas such as Lachen and Lachung isolated from the rest of the state, stranding approximately 2,400 tourists. The Army was deployed for rescue operations during that crisis.
As rescue and relief efforts are underway in Lachen, the region remains on high alert, with authorities working tirelessly to mitigate the devastating impacts of this natural disaster.