In a tragic incident, at least 23 Indian Army personnel have gone missing due to flash floods in Sikkim’s Teesta river, according to reports on Wednesday. The flash floods were triggered by a sudden cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim, which was compounded by the release of water from the Chungthang dam. A massive search and rescue operation has been launched to trace the missing Army personnel.
Sharing more information, Defence PRO, Guwahati, said, “23 Army personnel have been reported missing due to a flash flood that occurred in Teesta River in Lachen Valley after a sudden cloud burst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim.”
Giving more information about the cloudburst, the Gangtok District Administration said, “The flash flood made its way through River Teesta sweeping Indreni Bridge in Singtam town, some 30 kilometres from Gangtok. A connecting bridge of the Balutar hamlet was also swept away around 4 AM.”
South Lhonark Lake, situated in North West Sikkim, had seen a cloud burst causing incessant monsoon rainfall during the early hours of Wednesday morning. The flowing flash flood made its way through River Teesta sweeping Indreni Bridge in Singtam town, some 30 kilometres from Gangtok informed Gangtok District Administration.
Another connecting bridge of Balutar hamlet was also swept away around 4 AM. As per information from Mangan District Administration, Chungthang town, some 90 kilometres north of Gangtok, houses the Teesta Stage 3 Dam. Upon high alert, the local residents have been evacuated in the area. “Similarly, the Teesta Stage 5 dam at Dikchu in Mangan district was opened up for water disbursement after a high alert. It is reported that the control room of the dam has been severely damaged,” they informed.
Many homes near the River Teesta, situated in Gangtok’s Singtam have been evacuated. Additionally, temporary relief facilities have been established in the town’s Singtam Senior Secondary School, added officials.
According to defence sources, some Army vehicles that were parked at Bardang near Singtam were submerged in the water when the flash flood occurred after the release of water from the Chungthang dam.
Due to flash floods, the water level in Sikkim’s Teesta River has risen up to 15-20 feet high downstream. Sikkim’s Chief Minister Prem Sigh Tamang took stock of the flood-like situation. An alert regarding the flash flood has also been issued in view of the incident.