Sikkim Landslides Claim Six Lives, Strand 1,500 Tourists; Relief Efforts Underway
Sikkim Landslides Claim Six Lives, Strand 1,500 Tourists; Relief Efforts Underway

Massive landslides triggered by flash floods have resulted in the death of six people and left approximately 1,500 tourists stranded in northern Sikkim's Mangan district, officials reported.

The landslides, which were triggered by incessant rainfall since Wednesday night, caused a newly-constructed bailey bridge at Sangkalang to collapse, severing the link between Mangan with Dzongu and Chungthang. Several roads were blocked by landslides, and numerous houses were inundated or damaged. In addition, electricity poles were swept away, aggravating the situation.

Mangan District Magistrate Hem Kumar Chettri confirmed the deaths, stating that three people each lost their lives in Pakshep and Ambhithang villages. A relief camp has been set up at Pakshep to accommodate displaced people, with authorities swiftly mobilizing rescue and relief efforts.

Due to the landslides, mobile network services have been disrupted in North Sikkim. The district administration has requested the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) team to provide ration and assistance to Mangan.

Popular tourist spots in the region, including Dzongu, Chungthang, Lachen, and Lachung, have been cut off from the rest of the country. Officials have advised stranded tourists to remain where they are until alternative road connectivity can be established.

Efforts are underway to construct a bridge at Phidang to restore connectivity in the region, with the Mangan district administration collaborating with several agencies for the construction.

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, currently in Arunachal Pradesh, has directed the administration, police, and officials to ensure a prompt response to the disaster. He expressed solidarity with the victims and their families, assuring them of all possible support.

"The state government is fully committed to assisting the victims and displaced families, providing recovery assistance, temporary settlement, and essential supplies," Tamang said in a statement. He plans to return to Sikkim soon to personally oversee the rescue and relief operations.

The recent landslides bring back memories of the devastating flash flood that claimed nearly 50 lives in October last year.

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