In a harrowing turn of events, a sudden cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in north Sikkim has sparked flash floods along the Teesta River, leaving 23 Army personnel missing and prompting a mammoth search and rescue mission by the Armed Forces.
The Eastern Command of the Indian Army reported that the release of water from the Chungthang dam led to an abrupt surge in water levels downstream, reaching an alarming 15-20 feet high. This surge significantly impacted Army vehicles parked at Bardang near Singtam, with some vehicles submerged and 23 personnel reported missing. The affected area includes several establishments along the Lachen Valley.
However, Sikkim received relentless heavy rainfall throughout the night, exacerbating the situation. Local videos captured roads being washed away and the river swelling ominously.
Recognising this, the state administration has issued a high alert to residents, urging caution and vigilance. While no injuries have been reported thus far, public property has suffered considerable damage. Additionally, Singtam has reported missing individuals, adding to the distress.
Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, on a visit to the affected area, assured ongoing relief operations and highlighted the urgent need for rescue efforts.
Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department has alerted low-lying areas, urging residents to remain on high alert due to the swelling Teesta River after the Chungthang overflow.