Sikkim: On Saturday, the casualty count in the extensive flash flood incident in Sikkim climbed to 56. Among these fatalities, 26 bodies were discovered within Sikkim itself, while 30 others were located within the Teesta River basin in West Bengal. A search operation is currently in progress for 142 people in Sikkim, including Army personnel.
Rescue operations underway
As per the disaster management authorities, the confirmed death toll in Sikkim has reached 26. Among these fatalities, four bodies were retrieved from Mangan district, six from Gangtok, and 16, which included seven Indian Army personnel, from Pakyong district. Additionally, the West Bengal government has reported the recovery of 30 bodies across three districts—Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, and Cooch Behar—located within the Teesta River basin.
Simultaneously, the Ministry of Defence has reported the loss of military equipment, including ammunition, due to the flooding. The flash flood, initiated by a cloudburst during the early hours of Wednesday, inflicted extensive devastation upon Sikkim. The disaster has impacted over 25,000 people, resulting in damage to over 1,200 residences and the destruction of 13 bridges, roads, and various other structures.
CM Prem Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah announce aid
A total of 2,413 people have been successfully rescued from various locations, while 6,875 people are currently seeking refuge in 22 relief camps established throughout the state. Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang has declared an ex-gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh for the families of the deceased and immediate relief assistance of Rs 2,000 for each individual currently residing in the camps.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has sanctioned an advance sum of Rs 44.8 crore from the central portion of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to extend relief to those impacted. Additionally, an Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) is scheduled to visit the affected regions to evaluate the extent of the damage incurred.
Numerous tourists remain stranded in various areas of the state, with government officials indicating that approximately 3,000 tourists are currently marooned in North Sikkim. Despite repeated efforts by the Air Force, rescue operations have been hindered by adverse weather conditions, making it impossible to dispatch helicopters for their rescue.