23 Army men are missing after a flash flood in the Teesta river in Sikkim’s Lachen valley on Tuesday night, according to officials.The floods started around 1.30 am., they said.
An unexpected cloudburst over North Sikkim’s Lhonak Lake caused the Teesta’s water levels to suddenly rise, which in turn produced the flood. The situation was made worse by the Chungthang dam’s water discharge, which caused the water level downstream to climb by up to 15-20 feet.
The rushing flood waters washed away army trucks that were parked in Bardang, close to Singtam. Search efforts are being made to find the missing personnel. Several Army facilities located along the Lachen valley have also been damaged by the flash flood. To determine the exact scope of the damage, searches are being made.
Due to the Teesta’s flood, the Singtham footbridge over it collapsed. National Highway 10, which connects West Bengal and Sikkim, had several parts washed away. Following the flash flood, numerous routes were flooded or rendered impassable. The Sikkim government has issued a high alert for the region and warned residents to avoid the Teesta River. As a precaution, the Jalpaiguri administration in West Bengal has begun evacuating residents from the river’s lower catchment region.
Due to intense monsoon rains, the North Sikkim district suffered a disastrous flash flood earlier in June of this year. The Pegong area saw unusually severe flooding, which forced the closure of NH10 and seriously damaged the highway’s infrastructure, making it dangerous for any vehicular traffic. Areas like Lachen and Lachung were blocked off from the rest of the state as a result of the adjacent rivers overflowing as a result of the heavy rainfall.
Around 2,400 tourists were left stranded in the area by the rapid flooding, and the Army was called in to conduct rescue operations.
Images display Prem Singh Tamang, the chief minister of Sikkim, speaking to officials while holding an umbrella amid a rainfall about the flooding in the town of singtam, further downstream, where the soldiers are missing.