Thursday, November 30, 2023

After central, now eastern Himalayas? Glacial lake outburst in North Sikkim sparks alert across the state

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A devastating glacial lake outburst has struck North Sikkim, sending shockwaves across the northeastern state. The lake burst occurred upstream of Chungthang in the Mangan district, resulting in a sudden and alarming rise in the water level of the Teesta River.

Local reports indicate that the aftermath of this natural disaster has been severe. Two bridges, including the vital Phidang Bridge in Lower Dzongu, connecting Dzongu with the rest of the state, have been washed away, severing crucial transportation links.

Eyewitnesses have reported a heavy inflow of muddy water in water bodies throughout the district. Consequently, residents in low-lying areas, such as Singtam and Rangpo towns in Gangtok and Pakyong districts, have been issued alerts. Authorities have strongly advised people to avoid venturing near water bodies due to the dangerous conditions.

The situation has escalated further with damage to the dam at Chungthang in Sikkim, causing a sudden overflow and a significant rise in water levels in the Teesta River. As a result, the road leading to Sikkim and Kalimpong is currently closed, further isolating the affected regions.

In response to this critical situation, residents of Tista, Rangpho, Singtam, and other adjoining areas have been urged to evacuate their homes and relocate to higher-altitude regions for their safety.

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