Devastating Glacial Lake Outburst Flood Strikes North Sikkim: Multiple Districts Ravaged, Rescue Operations Underway
The Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) in portions of Lhonak Lake, Mangan District, which caused the rise of water levels with very high velocities downstream along the Teesta River Basin in the early hours of October 4, 2023, has caused severe damage in Mangan, Gangtok, Pakyong, and Namchi Districts.
The lake outburst in portions of Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim caused a rise in water levels with very high velocities near about 15m/sec, crossed the CWC Melli site measuring 227 m, near about 3m above Danger Level, at 0600 am.
According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), the flood occurred at midnight on October 3, 2023. Simultaneous flood forecasts for both India and Bangladesh were made at 0600 hrs and 1400 hrs. The river Teesta is flowing below the warning level at CWC Domohani FF Station. The water level at 0600 hrs is 84.83m and is expected to cross its warning level within 6 hours.
Similarly, around 1 a.m. on October 4, 2023, the major flooding of the Teesta River was reported from Chunthang. Likewise, by 2:30 pm, the flood had reached the lowlying areas of the remaining districts, causing serious destruction to public properties and public infrastructure. The communication network under Mangan District surrounding Chungthang and its pheriphery has been affected. Districts sprung into action and immediately initiated the evacuation of the people from the lowlying areas.
Further, the SDRF team from the State Home Guard and Civil Defence, Gangtok, and NDRF Pakyong has already been deployed in the affected areas.
As per the report received from the SSDMA, the following damages have been reported from the districts:
(i) Mangan District: Chungthang cut off due to the Toong Bridge collapse. Phidang Bridge collapsed. Four pucca houses at Phidang were washed away. Two houses at Dikchu were washed away. Houses along the river line are in danger, and two GREF labourers are reported missing at Sangkhalang, as per information received from GREF sources and one person missing from Phidang.
The GREF Crusher Plant and Old Police Barrack have been washed away at Toong, and four people have been reported missing.
Forest Guest House and two units of government quarters at Sangkhalang has been swept away.
(ii) Gangtok: Four injured have been taken to Singtam Hospital. 25 people have been rescued by SDRF, more rescue is underway.
(iii) Namchi district: LD Kazi Bridge washed away. Indreni Bridge washed away. A relief camp was set up at Namphing Sai Mandir. As of now, 500 people have been kept in the relief camps, and permanent relief has been set up at Pranami Mandir.
(iv) Pakyong district: Two minor injuries, one dead in West Bengal, and one person is under observation at Rangpo PHC. 23 army personnel have been missing and one person has been rescued at Bardang.
(Report Compiled at State Control Room, SSDMA)