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Sikkim floods, landslides leave thousands stranded, revive fears of 2023 disaster rerun

Incessant rainfall has triggered massive landslides in north Sikkim, killing at least six people and leaving hundreds tourists stranded

Our Web Desk Published 14.06.24, 03:43 PM
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Section of a road damaged due to landslides triggered by incessant rainfall, at Mangan in North Sikkim, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Northern Sikkim's Mangan district is grappling with another wave of natural disaster, less than a year after the glacial lake outburst flood in October 2023 led to the catastrophic collapse of the Teesta III hydroelectric dam, claiming nearly 50 lives and affecting thousands. This time, incessant rainfall has triggered massive landslides, killing at least six people and leaving around 1,200 domestic tourists and 15 foreign tourists stranded in Lachung. The relentless downpour has wreaked havoc on the region, causing landslides that blocked key roads and inundated several houses.

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Houses collapsed due to a landslide triggered by incessant rainfall, at Mangan in North Sikkim, Thursday, June 13, 2024. Electricity poles have been swept away, plunging many areas into darkness. The newly constructed bailey bridge at Sangkalang, which was built after the devastating flood last year, has collapsed, cutting off Mangan from Dzongu and Chungthang. The picturesque towns of Dzongu, Chungthang, Lachen, and Lachung, known for their popular tourist spots like Gurudongmar Lake and Yumthang Valley, are now isolated from the rest of the country.

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A section of a road collapsed due to a landslide triggered by incessant rainfall, at Mangan in North Sikkim, Thursday, June 13, 2024. In response to the disaster, a relief camp has been set up at Pakshep to shelter the displaced residents. Authorities have urged the stranded tourists to remain where they are until alternative road connectivity can be established. The Teesta river, still in spate from the heavy rains, poses an additional threat to the low-lying areas, particularly the town of Singtam.

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A house damaged due to landslides triggered by incessant rainfall, in North Sikkim, Thursday, June 13, 2024.  In Namchi district, the surging river waters have marooned the Melli stadium, highlighting the widespread impact of this latest calamity. The collapsed bailey bridge at Sangkalang, a crucial link restored after last year's flood, symbolises the recurring challenges faced by Sikkim's resilient yet beleaguered communities.

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Vehicles stuck in mud and silt following landslides triggered by incessant rainfall, in North Sikkim, Thursday, June 13, 2024. The situation is eerily reminiscent of the disaster that struck less than a year ago, underscoring the region's vulnerability to such natural events. As rescue and relief operations continue, the residents and authorities of Mangan district confront a grim reality: rebuilding and recovery must now contend with the increasing frequency of natural disasters. The focus remains on ensuring the safety of the stranded tourists and local residents while seeking long-term solutions to mitigate the impact of such catastrophic events in the future.

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