Gangtok: A Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) originating from portions of Lhonak Lake in the Mangan District of North Sikkim has triggered a catastrophic event, leading to the rise of water levels with astonishing velocities downstream along the Teesta River Basin.
The disaster, which occurred in the early hours of October 4, has caused severe damage in several districts, including Mangan, Gangtok, Pakyong, and Namchi.
The GLOF event in Lhonak Lake resulted in the sudden surge of water, with velocities reaching approximately 15 metres per second. This powerful flow crossed the Central Water Commission (CWC) Melli site, measuring 227 metres, nearly 3 metres above the Danger Level, at 0600 am.
According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), the flood was initiated at midnight on October 3, 2023. Flood forecasts were issued simultaneously for both India and Bangladesh at 0600 hrs and 1400 hrs. Currently, the water level in the Teesta River is below the warning level at CWC Domohani FF Station, with a measurement of 84.83 meters at 0600 hrs. However, it is anticipated to surpass its warning level within the next 6 hours.
Reports indicate that major flooding of the Teesta River was observed in Chunthang around 1 am on October 4. By 2:30 pm, the floodwaters had inundated low-lying areas in the remaining districts, causing significant destruction to public properties and infrastructure. The communication network in and around Chungthang, Mangan District, has been affected. In response, the districts promptly initiated evacuation measures for residents in vulnerable areas.
Meanwhile, the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams from the State Home Guard and Civil Defence in Gangtok, along with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in Pakyong, have been swiftly deployed to the affected regions.
As per the information received from the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), the following damages have been reported from the affected districts:
(i) Mangan District:
- Chungthang has been cut off due to the collapse of the Toong Bridge.
- Phidang Bridge has also collapsed.
- Four pucca houses in Phidang were washed away, along with two houses in Dikchu.
- Houses along the riverbanks are in imminent danger.
- Two GREF (General Reserve Engineer Force) laborers are reported missing at Sangkhalang, as per information from GREF sources.
- Additionally, one person is missing from Phidang.
- The GREF Crusher Plant and Old Police Barrack at Toong have been swept away, and four individuals have been reported missing.
- The Forest Guest House and two units of government quarters at Sangkhalang have also been swept away.
- Four injured individuals have been transported to Singtam Hospital.
- SDRF has successfully rescued 25 people, and additional rescue operations are ongoing.
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(iii) Namchi District:
- The LD Kazi Bridge has been washed away.
- The Indreni Bridge has also been washed away.
- A relief camp has been established at Namphing Sai Mandir.
- As of now, 500 people have been accommodated in the relief camps, and permanent relief efforts are being coordinated at Pranami Mandir.
(iv) Pakyong District:
- Two minor injuries have been reported, with one fatality in West Bengal.
- One person is under observation at Rangpo Primary Health Center.
- Tragically, 23 army personnel are missing, and one individual has been successfully rescued in Bardang.
Important Sikkim Govt Helpline Numbers:
Emergency Operating Center:
- Gangtok: 03592-284444
- Namchi: 03595-263734
- Mangan: 03592-234538
- Pakyong: 03592-291936
- Soreng: 8016747244
- Gyalshing: 03595-250888
- 7001911393 (Nodal Officer)
- 8101426284 (Asst. Director)
- 9906200205 (Nodal Officer, Army)
- ITBP: 03592-231340
- SSB: 03592-251015
- SDRF: 03592-220545
- BRO: 03592-259208
- ARMY: 03592-202228
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