Sikkim floods: 6,800 in relief camps, Centre assures full support

Chungthang: Over 6,800 people are currently taking refuge in 28 relief camps in Sikkim, the state chief secretary said during a review meeting with the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) on Monday.

Sikkim Chief Secretary who joined the meeting through a video conference informed that road connectivity has been established in most of the areas, a government update said.

With improvement in the weather conditions, evacuation and air lifting of stranded people began in the state. Essential supplies including food items, medicines and LPG are being supplied to the affected areas.

DG, IMD informed the committee that weather forecast is likely to remain favorable from 11th to 13th October. DG, NDRF briefed the Committee that six teams have been deployed in the state for rescue and relief operations.

Further, three reserve teams of NDRF are available on standby at Siliguri and adequate number of teams and assets of Army and Air Force have been deployed to assist the state in rescue and restoration efforts.

Home Secretary informed that the situation is monitored 24×7 by the Central Government at the highest level. He informed the Committee that Inter Ministerial Coordination Team (IMCT) has reached Sikkim to take stock of the situation and that necessary additional central assistance is being released to the Government of Sikkim.

Reviewing relief and rescue measures of the Central Agencies and Government of Sikkim, Cabinet Secretary, Rajiv Gauba emphasised that the evacuation of people in shortest possible time should be the priority for the state government and Central Agencies.

He said that Bailey Bridges should be launched on priority to restore road connectivity for the people where bridges have been washed away. The Cabinet Secretary also assured that the Centre will provide all possible support and assistance for the State.

The meeting was attended by Union Home Secretary, Chief Secretary of Sikkim, Secretary, M/o Road Transport & Highways, Secretary, D/o Military Affairs, Member Secretary, NDMA, CISC IDS, DG NDRF, DGMO, DG IMD, DDG BRO and senior officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence.

Meanwhile, the troops of Trishakti Corps Indian Army are undertaking operations at a massive scale to reconnect villages cut off. The focus of the operations are towards restoring connectivity to North Sikkim through Chungthang, which was the worst affected during the devastating flood.

Troops of the Indian Army undertook a challenging operation through difficult terrain and reached the isolated village of Rabom, North West of Chungthang and rescue of 150-200 civilians are underway at the time of this writing.

A list of 2000 tourists including 63 foreign nationals stranded in the areas of Chaten, Lachen, Lachung and Thangu in North Sikkim has been compiled and assistance is being provided in terms of food, medical aid, accommodation and telephone connectivity, an army official said.

149 civilians stranded in Lachen and Lachung villages of Mangan District were airlifted on Monday. The airlift comes after six days of Glacial Lake Outburst Flood in South Lhonak Lake, which left a carnage across Teesta basin in Sikkim and North Bengal.

The airlift was carried out by Indian Air Force using M8, F4, F7, C2, MI 17 and Chinook helicopters after the weather in North Sikkim cleared on Monday. The break up of the rescued airlifted civilians includes 29 from Chaten Village in Lachen, while 120 were rescued from Lachung village.

In Chaten, the first airlift carried 14 civilians using M8, F4, and C2 helicopters. The second airlift carried 15 civilians using M8 and F7 helicopters.

In Lachung, 120 civilians were airlifted which included 52 civilians with 35 using MI-17 helicopter and 85 civilians using Chinook helicopters.

Mangan Lachen MLA Samdup Lepcha also reached Chaten on Monday along with Mangan District Magistrate Hem Kumar Chettri and Superintendent of Police Sonam Dechu Bhutia where they met Lachen Pipons (local panchayats) and village elders.

Altogether, 523 tourists were left stranded in Lachen while 60-80 civilians including tourists and locals will be evacuated tomorrow, informed the Magan SP.

Mangan SP Sonam Dechu Bhutia speaking with the media shared, “The people in Lachen are facing LPG cylinder shortages and there is no electricity supply. We have promised to ferry medicines tomorrow through airlift but in terms of LPG cylinders, they will have to consider on using firewoods for the time being”.

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The Mangan SP further informed of two civilians in Zemu Village, a husband and wife working as GREF guards to be missing, fearing they might have been swept by the GLOF.

Mangan SP informed, “Indian Army is trying to rescue them. While in Munshithang, the village has been severely damaged but no person is missing or dead”.
On land, Trishakti Troops of Indian Army rescued 150-200 civilians from Rabom Village, North West of Chungthang on Monday.

The recently inaugurated Chaten Power House by the Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay in September to be safe, informed the SP.

Also Read | Sikkim floods: Evacuation underway in Lachen, Lachung

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