Sat. May 18th, 2024

The Sikkim flood, which resulted in 14 deaths and 102 missing individuals, was particularly severe because it was caused by a cloudburst that led to the overflow of a glacial lake. When a glacial lake outburst flood, or GLOF, occurs, it usually causes more damage than a flood caused solely by excessive rainfall.

The events unfolded when the South Lhonak Lake, situated in the upper regions of Sikkim, burst its banks around 1 am on Wednesday due to a cloudburst in the area. This glacial lake is located approximately 17,000 feet above sea level, and satellite images showed that almost 65% of its water drained, flooding the Teesta River.

The water flowed downhill, leaving a trail of destruction, and eventually reached the Teesta-III project, Sikkim’s largest hydropower project, located about 5,000 feet above sea level in Chungthang. The water, carrying debris along its path, collided with the dam, resulting in parts of it collapsing.

Subsequently, massive flooding occurred downstream. The Central Water Commission reported that the Teesta River was flowing below the danger mark before the dam burst, but breached the mark within six hours.

Significant damage was reported in downstream areas, including Mangan, Dikchu, Singtam, and Rangpo. Bardang, the town where 23 Army personnel went missing after being washed away, is also situated on the banks of the Teesta River. One person was rescued, and efforts are ongoing to search for the others.

Road links to Gangtok have been severed as sections of National Highway 10 have been washed away. Furthermore, 14 bridges in the state have been destroyed, and around 3,000 tourists are stranded.

Due to the flash floods in Sangkalan and Toong in Mangan district, mobile networks and broadband connections have been disrupted in Chungthang and most of North Sikkim. To address the situation, the Army is constructing Bailey bridges to ensure the delivery of essential supplies to the affected areas. The state government has also established relief camps in Singtam, Rangpo, Dikchu, and Adarsh Gaon.

It is important to note that additional details regarding the relief efforts are currently unavailable.

By admin