Gangtok, 5 October : Addressing the media today, Chief Secretary VB Pathak provided an update on the evolving situation in the wake of the Sikkim floods. Pathak reported that the latest figures indicate a grim toll, with 18 individuals tragically losing their lives, 98 people still unaccounted for, including 23 army personnel, and 26 individuals suffering injuries so far.
Pathak also conveyed that the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 27 Mountain Division had informed him that all stranded tourists in Lachen and Lachung have successfully established contact with their families back home through Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication.
The National Crisis Management Committee, led by the Cabinet Secretary, held a significant meeting during which discussions were held with senior officials from the Airforce and Army regarding the deployment of helicopters for rescue operations. Unfortunately, the current weather conditions in Lachen, Lachung, and Chungthang are unfavorable. However, it is anticipated that the weather will improve, possibly by Thursday, allowing rescue operations to commence.
Chief Secretary Pathak assured the media that essential food items and commodities are in sufficient stock in North Sikkim. This information was corroborated by Lachen and Lachung Zomsa Pipon, who conveyed this to the government from North Sikkim. Additionally, three platoons of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are being deployed for rescue and evacuation efforts.
To ensure the timely distribution of essential supplies, helicopters will dispatch these items from the North District headquarters in Mangan.
Pathak also provided an update on the situation in Singtam, where efforts have begun to clear debris left behind by the major flooding that occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Fortunately, electricity and water supply have already been restored in the area.
In a separate development, on Wednesday, five bodies were recovered from Singtam Golitar with the assistance of NDRF teams, the police, and civilians. This tragic flooding event was triggered by an outburst of the South Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim. Notably, three satellite images taken by ISRO reveal a 60% decrease in the water level of Lhonak Lake, offering a glimmer of hope amid the ongoing crisis.
In his address to the public, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) made a heartfelt appeal for mutual coordination and support from all citizens, urging them to set aside political differences in the name of humanity. CM Golay emphasized the importance of unity during this challenging time.
He also informed the public that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and other central dignitaries are maintaining continuous communication with the State Government to provide support and assistance during this tumultuous period.