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Sikkim Flash Floods: Over 50 dead, 142 missing, weather hinders rescue operations

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Gangtok, Oct 7: At least 50 people have died and 142 persons remain missing in the devastating flash floods in Sikkim, which was triggered by glacial burst on the South Lhonak lake on Wednesday morning.

According to reports, 27 dead bodies were found in the Teesta river bed in neighbouring West Bengal in the past three days. “Seven of those dead bodies have been identified. Most of them are not identified yet. 142 persons are still missing,” said an official source.

As per information, IAF has made multiple attempts to carry out rescue and relief operations by Mi-17 helicopters. However, the search and rescue ops have been hindered for the past two days as the deployed helicopters were unable to fly from Bagdogra as well as Chaten due to the inclement weather, low-lying cloud cover and low visibility conditions in the valleys of Lachen and Lachung.

The IMD has forecast the sky conditions in Lachen and Lachung for the next five days to remain generally cloudy to overcast sky, so airlifting of over 3000 stranded tourist has become a challenge.

All bridges downstream of the Teesta-V hydropower station have been submerged or washed out, disrupting communication to North Sikkim.

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang chaired a high-level meeting at his official residence in the presence top officials of Indian Army, Air Force, Border Roads organisation, NDRF, state Police to chalk out rescue and relief and restoration strategies.

Priority was given to open the road connectivity up to Chungthang, while the road from Naga to Toong will be constructed subject to the availability of land as soon as possible.

During the course of the day, various officers from different departments met with the Chief Secretary to provide an update on the status of works concerning road connectivity, relief and rehabilitation and rescue operations.

In addition, 3rd Indian Reserve Battalion (IRBn) troops are headed to Chungthang on a rescue mission. A day prior, 2 platoons of IRBn have already reached Chungthang on a rescue mission led by DIG Range Tashi Wangyal of Sikkim Police. They are also accompanied by State Disaster Relief Force to Chungthang.

An ex-gratia amounting to Rs. 4 lakh each for the families of the deceased has been declared by the state government.

Read: Tripura: Journalist Saikat Talapatra arrested from Bengal for defaming CM Saha, other politicians

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