The Sikkim government, led by Prem Singh Tamang, has urged individuals planning to visit the picturesque Himalayan state in the near future to consider postponing their travel plans until the situation returns to normal. This request follows a devastating flash flood incident that resulted in a tragic loss of at least 14 lives, with 102 individuals still unaccounted for, as reported by PTI.
In a proactive response, the state government has also reassured those currently stranded in the flood-stricken Mangan district, emphasizing that there is no need for undue panic. The relevant authorities are gearing up to initiate an evacuation process starting from Friday to ensure the safety of affected individuals. The crisis has left over 3,000 tourists, including foreign visitors, trapped in various parts of the state.
Simultaneously, the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department has issued a vital advisory, recommending that all prospective travelers planning to explore the charms of Sikkim should consider rescheduling their journeys to a later date when conditions are more favorable. The department has pledged full support and assistance in facilitating the evacuation process, slated to commence on October 6, subject to favorable weather conditions.
This advisory aligns with Chief Minister Tamang’s recent directive to cease the issuance of permits to tourists for popular destinations like Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir, and Nathula, effective from the forthcoming Friday.
It is important to note that all tourists currently stranded in the Lachung and Lachen areas are confirmed to be safe, with no adverse reports received concerning their well-being, according to the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department.
Additionally, the state government has made a heartfelt appeal to all stakeholders within the tourism sector, including hoteliers, travel agents, and tourist taxi operators, to unite and extend every possible form of support and assistance to the stranded travelers, given the flood situation in the Teesta river basin region.
The department specifically urges all tourist taxi drivers and stakeholders to demonstrate solidarity by maintaining fair and reasonable pricing for services, including taxi fares and accommodation, during this critical period.
Furthermore, the Indian Army has taken proactive measures to facilitate communication for stranded tourists by providing satellite phones, enabling them to connect with their loved ones from remote and inaccessible locations in north Sikkim, an area heavily impacted by the flash flood in the Teesta river.
Rescue operations conducted by Indian Army and NDRF teams are ongoing for the second consecutive day, with efforts focused on locating individuals swept away by the flash flood. Thus far, 14 bodies have been recovered, while 102 individuals, including 22 army personnel, remain missing following a cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in north Sikkim in the early hours of Wednesday, which triggered the flash flood in the Teesta river basin.
The Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) reports that 2,011 individuals have been successfully rescued, while the calamity has impacted a total of 22,034 people, according to the latest bulletin.