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Flood, landslide batter Sikkim Day 8: People use excavator to cross river, thousands of tourists still stranded

First Published: 18th June, 2024 15:23 IST

Owing to harsh weather conditions, the Mangan district administration has ordered for shutdown of schools under 2 blocks until further notice.

Scenes of people using excavators to cross a river and women and children trying to precariously balance themselves as they tried to walk towards safety amid huge boulders, rocks and mud sliding down the hills defines the situation people of North and South Sikkim are in because of the heavy rains which have been lashing through the state since June 10 leaving a trail of destruction and devastation.

Roads and bridges have been washed away and rivers in spate threatening more destruction is flooding social media highlighting the condition of Sikkim even as the weather department has forecast more rains in the coming days.

It is the brave acts of Border Road Organisation (BRO) personnel and the joint efforts of NDRF, SDRF and state officials that several of the over 2000 stranded tourists have been rescued while several remain stuck in far flung tourist destinations of North and South Sikkim.

North Sikkim continues to remain one of the worst affected as several roads have been cut off. Roads connecting Mangan have been blocked at Namok Khola also at Theng tunnel, Langthey Khola and Rafong Khola due to landslides. Huge boulders have blocked the National highway 10 at Bhalukhola and Likhubir.

Authorities have advised travellers to use the route through Lava as a safer alternative. Efforts to normalize the situation will commence as soon as weather conditions improve.

Government of Sikkim informed that 15 more tourists have been rescued from Lachung this morning.
In an official statement, the government said, “The district administrative officials along with officials of line departments, BRO, SDRF, NDRF and volunteers have been tirelessly helping tourists get to safer grounds. More evacuation is expected as the day progresses.”

Owing to the severe weather conditions, schools in 4 clusters under Mangan block and 6 clusters under Dzongu block have been shut till further orders.

The BRO has rescued several tourists stranded beyond Chungthang. Continuing their mission, the BRO, with support from the district administration of Mangan, intensified their rescue operations on 18 June. The combined efforts resulted in the successful evacuation of over 500 tourists, providing them with safe passage from the flood-affected regions.

Unprecedented heavy rainfall in the early hours of 13th June, 2024 struck the district headquarters at Mangan and the surrounding areas resulting in heavy landslides and cutting off NH310A the only road link between Gangtok and Mangan at various places. Over 2000 tourists were stuck in Lachung beyond Mangan, officials said.

Some of the roads closed due to landslides are:

  1. MANGAN TO GANGTOK VIA RAKDUNG-TINTEK ROAD IS BLOCKED AT NAMOK KHOLA.
  2. MANGAN TO GANGTOK VIA PHODONG ROAD IS CLEAR FOR LIGHT VEHICLES ONLY.
  3. MANGAN- CHUNGTHANG VIA TOONG NAGA ROUTE BLOCKED AT MULTIPLE PLACES.
    (NOTE: MAJOR LANDSLIDES AT NEARBY THENG TUNNEL, LANGTHEY KHOLA AND RAFONG KHOLA)
  4. MANGAN TO CHUNGTHANG ROAD VIA SANGKALANG ROAD IS BLOCKED AT MULTIPLE PLACES (NOTE: SANGKALANG BRIDGE COLLAPSED).
  5. LACHEN TO CHUNGTHANG: ROAD IS BLOCKED AT MUNSHITHANG.
  6. LACHEN TO THANGU: BLOCKED AT ZEEMA -1
  7. THANGU -GURUDONGMAR OPEN.
  8. CHUNGTHANG TO LACHUNG CLEAR.
  9. LACHUNG TO ZERO POINT ROAD IS CLEAR.
  10. MANGAN TO DIKCHU ROAD IS BLOCKED AT NAMOK KHOLA.

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