In the vast and peaceful landscapes of Lachen and Lachung in Sikkim’s Mangan district, a devastating flash flood struck, leaving more than 3,000 tourists stranded and in need of urgent help. This article takes a detailed look at the inspiring rescue and relief operations undertaken to ensure the safety of those affected.
The Brave Efforts of the Indian Air Force
When disaster struck, the Indian Air Force sprang into action, making courageous attempts to rescue the stranded tourists using Mi-17 helicopters. However, the turbulent weather conditions in Bagdogra and Chaten posed severe challenges, with low-lying clouds and poor visibility making it unsafe to fly. Despite these obstacles, the unwavering dedication of the Indian Air Force personnel shone through as they continued their valiant efforts.
Battling the Ravages of Nature: Damaged Roads
The flood left a trail of destruction, severely damaging the roads leading to Lachen and Lachung. This made it nearly impossible for rescue teams to reach the stranded tourists. To overcome this hurdle, alternative routes via Dzongu were being explored, highlighting the relentless determination to find a way to provide help.
Teesta Urja: A Ray of Hope
Amid the chaos, Teesta Urja emerged as a savior. They generously provided a helicopter for rescuing tourists and delivering essential supplies to the Chungthang area. Their swift response played a pivotal role in alleviating the distress of those in dire need.
ITBP’s Heroic Mission
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) swiftly mobilized a team to the affected region, embarking on a mission of relief and rescue in Chungthang. Their expertise in handling challenging situations proved invaluable, offering solace to the distressed and stranded tourists.
Weather Forecast: A Glimpse into the Future
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) provided a weather forecast specifically for the Mangan district. According to their predictions, light to moderate rainfall is expected across most areas in the district over the next five days. Furthermore, Lachen and Lachung are anticipated to experience generally cloudy to overcast skies during this period. These forecasts serve as crucial information for ongoing rescue operations, enabling teams to plan and adapt to changing conditions effectively.
NDRF and State Agencies: Tireless Efforts
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, working in conjunction with state agencies, have been relentlessly conducting rescue operations in areas such as Singtam, Bardang, and Rangpo. Nevertheless, reaching the upper reaches of North Sikkim, including Chungthang, Lachen, and Lachung, has been fraught with significant challenges.
Recognizing the importance of real-time information, small teams comprising senior government officers embarked on a challenging trek from Mangan to Chungthang. Their mission is to assess the extent of damage and provide vital updates to the state government. This courageous effort ensures that decision-makers have accurate, on-the-ground intelligence to guide rescue and relief efforts effectively.
Reinforcements on the Way
In a heartening display of unity, more rescue teams, including personnel from the India Reserve Battalion, are en route to Chungthang. Their presence promises additional support and resources for those in need.
Chungthang, at the epicenter of the flash flood in the Teesta river, endured significant devastation. Initial reports from rescue teams on the ground indicate that nearly 80 percent of the town has been affected by the flash flood. This catastrophe underscores the urgent need for coordinated rescue and relief efforts.
The Catastrophic Trigger
The flash flood in the Teesta river was triggered by a cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim during the early hours of Wednesday. This devastating event claimed the lives of 27 individuals, including eight Army personnel, and left 141 people missing. The aftermath of the flood resulted in extensive damage, including the destruction of more than 1,200 houses and the washing away of 13 bridges in the picturesque Himalayan state.
In conclusion, the heroic efforts of various agencies, organizations, and individuals have come together in a display of unwavering determination and resilience in the face of adversity. The rescue and relief operations in Lachen and Lachung are a testament to the indomitable human spirit, working tirelessly to ensure the safety and well-being of those affected by the flash flood.