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HomeNewsOver 3,000 people stranded in Sikkim’s Lachen, Lachung towns

Over 3,000 people stranded in Sikkim’s Lachen, Lachung towns

Five days after flash floods struck Sikkim, more than 3,000 people, mostly tourists, remain stranded in Lachen and Lachung towns of the Himalayan state, officials said.

“We have managed to reach Chungthang from where the road divides – one heading towards Lachen and another to Lachung. But these two towns, beyond Chungthang, still remain inaccessible to relief and rescue workers. Around 3,000 people are still stranded there. They are being helped by the local administration,” said a senior official of Mangan district.

Lachen is the base for tourists going to Gurudongmar Lake, a high-altitude lake situated at an altitude of 17,000 feet close to the Indo-China border while Lachung is the stopover for tourists heading to Yumthang valley.

A flash flood triggered by an outburst in a glacial lake in north Sikkim on Tuesday night barrelled down the river Teesta in the early hours of Wednesday killing at least 82 people while at least 140 remain missing.

Mangan district in north Sikkim, where the two towns are located, was the worst hit.

Around 50 villages and towns have been hit in the district alone and more than 30,000 people have been affected, the latest estimate of the Sikkim government suggests.

At least four people have been killed in the district and more than a dozen remain missing.

“While a relief and rescue team, comprising NDRF personnel, managed to reach Chungthang for the first time on Friday night, the ITBP personnel rescued 56 people using a zip-line on Saturday,” said an official.

A makeshift bamboo bridge has been built by the army and local volunteers to connect Chungthang with Pegong. The army is constructing another bridge there.

“The makeshift bamboo bridge will enable transportation of stranded tourists and local people to the other side from Chungthang.

A senior official of the state tourist department said that at least 10 Indian tourists, who were stranded at Chungthang, were guided by a homestay owner who led them to Rangrang through treacherous hilly trails, from where they tourists were picked up by the tourism department officials and brought to safety in the state’s capital in Gangtok.

“Air-borne operations could not take off till Sunday in the flood-hit regions because of inclement weather conditions. There was rain in Mangan on Sunday. Gangtok too received rain. We are expecting air-borne operations to start today,” said an official.

Meanwhile, an inter-ministerial central team is expected to reach Gangtok on Monday to assess the damage.

The team will meet top officials of the state later on Monday.

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Updated: 09 Oct 2023, 11:06 AM IST

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