Sikkim flood: Toll rises to 30, with 81 still missing

Gangtok, Oct 8 (UNI) The toll in the Sikkim flash floods rose to 30 on Sunday, with 81 still missing, the state government said.

The glacier-fed Lhonak Lake in north Sikkim triggered a flash flood in the Teesta river basin on October 4, causing the tragedy.

‘The death toll as risen to 30. Another 81 people continue to be missing,’ a state government.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra held a high-level emergency review meeting with Sikkim Chief Secretary VB Pathak and other officers concerned, as also those from the National Highway Authority of India, Border Roads Organisation, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Indian Army and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation at the Tashiling Secretariat.

The government communique said some 1320 houses were severely damaged and about 2563 people were rescued till Saturday evening.

Among those rescued, around 26 with grievous injuries have been hospitalised at different locations.

The disaster struck at 6 a.m. on October 4, sweeping away 13 bridges downstream to the Teesta-V hydropower station that were submerged or washed out, disrupting communication.

The Union Minister said the situation was closely being monitored and all the necessary support and assistance for the state was underway. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have been in constant touch with the state Chief Minister P S Tamang with regard to the extent of damages and rescue and relief work.

Mishra enquired about the steps taken for relief and rehabilitation from October onwards and was briefed by Chief Secretary Pathak.

He said the state’s demands would be instantly met.

‘To restore normal life we (Centre & state) have to work together. We have been working on the identification of priorities. And to ensure that requirements of the public are fulfilled,’ said Minister Mishra.

He appreciated the zeal and dedication of CM Tamang in taking care of the situation and reaching out to the affected.

‘The PM is very sensitive. We don’t look at everything from a political angle but have always given importance to human resources. Sikkim is very important and different from others, not to be compared even with other states,’ said the Minister, responding to a question.

The MoS further informed that the Centre has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee comprising senior officers of five Ministries of the Government of India, namely Agriculture, Road

Transport & Highways, Jal Shakti, Energy and Finance. The team will visit the state from Sunday to take stock of the ground situation, assess the damages and provide assistance wherever necessary.

The Minister informed that the Central government has granted an advance sanction of the allocated budget for NDRF and SDRF for 2023-24 to enable the state to carry out immediate rescue, relief and restoration.

The MoS directed the state government officers to prepare short-term and long-term plans, for rebuilding at the earliest.

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