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Six dead, 1,500 tourists stranded as Sikkim hit by massive landslides

Massive landslides triggered by incessant rainfall caused devastation in northern Sikkim. Landslides blocked stretches of roads and several houses were inundated or damaged, while electricity poles were swept away.

Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi Gangtok Published on: June 13, 2024 21:41 IST
Image Source : PTI Section of a road damaged due to landslides triggered by incessant rainfall

Sikkim landslide: At least six people were killed and around 1,500 tourists were stranded as massive landslides, triggered by incessant rainfall, caused devastation in northern Sikkim's Mangan district, officials said on Thursday.

A newly constructed bailey bridge at Sangkalang collapsed, severing the connection between Mangan and Dzongu and Chungthang. Landslides blocked stretches of roads, several houses were inundated or damaged, and electricity poles were swept away, the officials said.

Towns such as Dzongu, Chungthang, Lachen, and Lachung in Mangan district, known for popular tourist spots like Gurudongmar Lake and Yunthang Valley, have now been cut off from the rest of the country.

Six died, houses damaged

“Three persons each died in Pakshep and Ambhithang villages,” Mangan District Magistrate Hem Kumar Chettri said. A number of houses were damaged in Geythang and Nampathang.

 Chettri said that a relief camp has been set up at Pakshep for the displaced people.

The district magistrate held a meeting with other officials to assess the situation following the incessant rainfall in and around Mangan District since Wednesday night, instructing them to carry out rescue and relief operations.

The officials said that mobile network services were affected in North Sikkim even as a request was made by the district administration to send an SDRF team with ration to Mangan.

The collapsed bailey bridge at Sangkalang, which was built after the massive social flood in the Teesta river in October last year, has once again severed critical connections. Authorities have advised stranded tourists to remain in their current locations until alternative road connectivity can be established for vehicle movement, officials said.

The Mangan district administration has started works with several agencies to expeditiously construct a bridge at Phidang to restore connectivity in the region.

Sikkim CM asked officials to  ensure a swift response

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, who is in Arunachal Pradesh to attend the swearing-in ceremony of BJP leader Pema Khandu, asked the administration, police and officials of various departments to ensure a swift response to the devastation. "Efforts are underway to provide every possible support to the victims and affected families, including recovery assistance, temporary settlement, and the provision of basic needs," Tamang said in a statement.

"The state government stands firmly with the victims of this unfortunate incident, pledging the utmost support to the bereaved families and all those affected and displaced by the landslides," he said.

He will soon return to the state to personally supervise rescue and relief operations. Meanwhile, the Teesta River is in spate, potentially impacting residents of the low-lying Singtam town. In Namchi district, the surging water has marooned the Melli stadium, officials reported. Nearly 50 people were killed in the flash flood that hit the Himalayan state in October last year.

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