“The ancestral home, a two-story building, three plots of land, and all our important documents were mercilessly washed away. Amidst the chaos, the only belongings we managed to salvage were a mattress and a fridge.” Phurba Lepcha
Phurba Lepcha lost his home and sole source of income after the heavy rainfall on the night of June 18. “Throughout that night, the rain poured heavily, and we were constantly monitoring the situation. At around 3 am, the water level of the Kallej Khola surged, breaching the walls of our house. Without any delay, my elderly father and I had to evacuate our home urgently. To our dismay, the force of the river swept away not only our house but also my small restaurant and garage,” He narrated to Sikkim Chronicle
Lepcha, a resident of Gitang, Dentam block in Gyalshing district, estimates a loss of almost Rs 1 crore. He said, “The ancestral home, a two-story building, three plots of land, and all our important documents were mercilessly washed away. Amidst the chaos, the only belongings we managed to salvage were a mattress and a fridge.”
“Officials from the department took stock of the situation and assured us help,” he concluded.
The extensive rainfall on the night of June 17-18 caused a rise in the water level of the Kallej Khola, leading to significant loss in Gyalshing district.
The rainfall also claimed the life of a 90-year-old man along with his along four cattle on the river banks of Rimbi. The body of the deceased, AL Limboo was later found on the river banks at Sikkip.
According to a report from the Gyalshing District, “The heavy rain triggered multiple mudslides at Simphok, Uttarey Intake, and adjoining areas along the river, affecting many houses, agricultural land, cardamom fields, livestock, and causing other damages. No casualties have been reported so far.”
“The only concrete bridge connecting Uttarey to Sopakha GPU has been washed away, cutting off the entire Sopakha GPU, which has five wards. The road connecting Gyalshing to Dentam has been completely washed away at two locations near BB Lall bridge at Dentam. The interior roads connecting various GPUs under the Sub Division have been damaged,” the report added.
“The Uttarey-Sopakha bridge and the 25m span steel bridge over Simphok Khola along RCR from Uttarey to Kumuk Sepi were severely damaged by the rain at night, causing distress to local commuters. It was also learnt that flash floods have gravely damaged the Government Rainbow trout farm and its stock at Uttarey, along with 15 trout farm tanks of trout farmers, severely affecting their livelihood. A suspension bridge over College Khola at Lower Sapung has also been washed away.”
Heavy rainfall was also recorded in other parts of Sikkim. Pengong Chungthang under the Mangan District was the most affected by the rainfall. A landslide on June 16 at Pengong left a total of 2,413 individuals stranded. With the help of the army, locals, and state departments, all 2,413 individuals were eventually rescued.
Similarly, 2,464 tourists, including 60 students from Namchi Govt College, were stranded at Lachen and Lachung in the Mangan District. They were also rescued later that day.
In the Soreng District, the most affected area was Daramdin, where the house of Zima Lhamu Sherpa was washed away due to the increased flow of Rammam Khola. The NTPC of Lungchok Salangdang GPU was also severely damaged, and some houses under the Dodok block were also affected.
“Compensation for Victims”
According to reliable sources of the State department, “The compensation will be given to the victims as per the norms of NDMA and SSDMA. Rs 1.30 lakhs for both Kaccha and Pakka house, Rs 37,500 per cattle, and Rs 4,000 per goat will be covered as per the provisions under the law.”
“For land compensation, the evaluation will be conducted by the office of DAC along with SDM, and after the evaluation, the compensation will be given accordingly,” he added.
Furthermore, he also mentioned that, as per SDRF norms, Rs 400,000 will be provided to the family of the 90-year-old deceased.
“IMD issues Rainfall warning”
Dr Gopinath Raha, Director of IMD, Gangtok, stated to Sikkim Chronicle on Friday, “The rainfall started due to the onset of monsoon, which began on June 12.”
Simultaneously, IMD Gangtok issued a heavy rainfall warning on June 12, stating, “The rainfall will last one more week, with light to moderate rainfall across the state and heavy rainfall expected at Gangtok, Soreng, Gyalshing, and Mangan.”
IMD Gangtok emphasized that the rainfall is solely due to the onset of monsoon in Sikkim.