Six killed, 2,000 tourists stranded as landslides, rain wreak havoc in Sikkim


At least six people were killed and 2,000-odd tourists stranded as massive landslides triggered by incessant rainfall caused devastation in northern Sikkim’s Mangan district, officials said on Thursday.

A newly-constructed bailey bridge at Sangkalang collapsed snapping the link between Mangan with Dzongu and Chungthang. Landslides blocked stretches of roads and several houses were inundated or damaged, while electricity poles were swept away, they said.

Towns such as Dzongu, Chungthang, Lachen, and Lachung in Mangan district known for popular tourist spots like Gurudongmar Lake and Yunthang Valley have now been cut off from the rest of the country.

Three persons each died in Pakshep and Ambhithang villages, Mangan District Magistrate Hem Kumar Chettri said.

A number of houses were damaged in Geythang and Nampathang.

A relief camp has been set up at Pakshep for the displaced people, Chettri said.

The district magistrate also held a meeting with other officials to take stock of the situation following the incessant rainfall in and around Mangan District since Wednesday night and instructed them to carry out rescue and relief works.

Mobile network services were affected in North Sikkim even as a request was made by the district administration to send an SDRF team with ration to Mangan, the officials said.

The collapsed bailey bridge at Sangkalang was constructed after the massive social flood in the Teesta river in October last year.

The authorities have asked the stranded tourists to stay where they are right now till alternative road connectivity could be set up for movement of vehicles, officials said.

The Mangan district administration has started works with several agencies to expeditiously construct a bridge at Phidang to restore connectivity in the region.

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, who is in Arunachal Pradesh to attend the swearing-in ceremony of BJP leader Pema Khandu, asked the administration, police and officials of various departments to ensure a swift response to the devastation.

“Efforts are underway to provide every possible support to the victims and affected families, including recovery assistance, temporary settlement, and the provision of basic needs,” Tamang said in a statement.

“The state government stands firmly with the victims of this unfortunate incident, pledging the utmost support to the bereaved families and all those affected and displaced by the landslides,” he said.

He will soon return to the state to personally supervise rescue and relief operations.

Meanwhile, the Teesta river is in spate which might affect the residents of low-lying Singtam town.

In Namchi district, the surging water in the Teesta river marooned the Melli stadium, officials said.

Nearly 50 people were killed in the flash flood that hit the Himalayan state in October last year.