Dzongu has been cut off from rest of Sikkim as multiple slides occurred in past few days due to very heavy rainfall across the state Credit: Wangchuk Bhutia

Gangtok: Incessant rainfall over the past couple of days has led to a huge flash flood in Passingdang, Upper Dzongu in North Sikkim on Saturday night. At least 19 houses and public properties including the hostel of Passindang Secondary School have been damaged. No casualties have been reported so far as civilians were evacuated on time.

As per the information from SDM Dzongu Norbu Tshering Bhutia, 19 houses have been damaged by the flash flood and 35 families were evacuated to the Passingdang PHE house on the Passingdang-Lingthem road. The affected families were provided with ration by the district administration.

Dzongu has been cut off from rest of the state as multiple landslides occurred in the past few days due to very heavy rainfall across the state. The worst-affected area is Passindong, about 10 km from Mangan. A massive landslide came down from uphill Panang which damaged houses, government secondary school, roads and other infrastructure. The slide broke out around 8 pm on Saturday night.

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District authorities and Dzongu MLA Pintso Namgyal Lepcha reached the spot which is accessible only on foot due to a slide near Sangakhalang, the entry point to Upper Dzongu. District authorities fear more landslides will come if the rains continue. Rural Development and Management Minister Sonam Lama also visited the area to assess the damages.

Land Revenue Department’s District Project Officer Karma Dorjee highlighted how the incessant rain over last 3-4 days of having triggered the flash flood in Passingdang in Dzongu. “The flash flood began from a Jhora (Stream) and has spread across 300-400 feet. Jhora got filled with rain of the last few days, the culvert was unable to hold on the increased water flow. With houses being on either sides of road, visually we can say seven houses have been damaged including a School. The flash flood has dragged a lot of flora, roads are blocked, and it was these damaged houses that shielded the flash flood from further spread,” he said.

There are reports of damages even at the distrct captial Mangan with two houses losing its foundation structure. Pakshep en route has 4-5 houses needing evacuation, Singhik also needing almost same number of evacuation while 4-5 houses, while in Malling ward 8-9 houses were damaged by landslides.

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Land Revenue and Disaster Management Secretary PN Sherpa informed that the District Disaster Management is at the spot, along with other district officials, assessing the damage and supporting preventive measures. “It was last night’s incident with accessibility being a major issue, the road to North Sikkim is blocked from Sangklang onwards. The State Disaster Management Team is reaching the spot tomorrow. We have not send the team from Gangtok yet as connectivity is lost currently. NDRF team from Pakyong in East Sikkim is on stand by but the North District Officials are facing concerns with the logistics, so they have are on stand by for now. Currently, District Disaster Management Team is assessing the situation,” Sherpa said.

There have been no casualties, the damages are at multiple place and any information is premature, right now informed the Secretary.

Former chief minister and SDF president Pawan Chamling, upon hearing the news, vide a press release, said, “I understand that flash flood has wrought large-scale devastation. I am very concerned and am thinking of the dear people there. I am hopeful that the government will do all it takes to mobilize its machinery and reach out to the people as soon as possible. Let there be no short supply of relief materials and all kinds of help. The administration must never forget that the victims of such natural calamity deserve more than exemplary generosity. Nothing can really compensate for the loss caused. We need to be extremely careful of these phenomena and keep a close eye on areas prone to landslides and flash floods”.

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