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Sikkim faces widespread damage caused by flash floods, rescue efforts underway

Sikkim is facing widespread damage in many parts of the state after a cloudburst in Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim triggered flash floods on Wednesday, October 4. More than 40 people, including 23 Indian Army personnel, are reported missing.
Authorities have launched rescue operations, with Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang closely monitoring the situation.

Efforts are underway to assess the impact on Army installations in the valley. Prime Minister Modi has pledged full support to the Chief Minister in the face of this calamity.

Multiple videos show the extensive damage caused by flash flooding triggered by a cloudburst around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. This caused the Lhonak Lake to overflow and led to an increase in the water level of the Teesta River.

The rise in the river water level also caused flooding in several towns in the Teesta basin, including Dikchu, Singtam, and Rangpo. According to a Times of India report, the flash floods in Sikkim were caused by the release of water from the Chundthung dam after a cloudburst in the area. This sudden release caused the water level downstream to reach up to 20 feet.

Fortunately, the level in the Teesta River remained below the danger mark at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Central Water Commission. However, authorities are keeping a close watch as water levels at key stations – Melli, Singtam, and Rohtak – are moving close to the danger mark, according to news agency PTI.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescued seven people from Singtam. According to the NDRF, one unit is stationed in Gangtok and two teams are stationed in the neighboring regions of West Bengal in Sikkim.

According to the forecast of the Indian Meteorological Department, the cloudburst could be caused by a low-pressure area moving eastwards over several states.

This low-pressure area is expected to bring rainfall not only to Sikkim but also to several other states including Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal over the next few days. According to IMD, light to moderate rainfall is expected in Sikkim for the next 3-4 days.

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