Flash floods in Sikkim caused by cloudburst result in sections of National Highway being washed away.

In Kolkata, on Wednesday, the connectivity to Sikkim, including its capital Gangtok, suffered severe disruption due to an overflowing Teesta river. This natural disaster occurred as parts of NH-10, which connects Sikkim to the rest of the country, were washed away by the surging waters. The critical situation was triggered by a cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim, causing flash floods in the northeastern state. The Teesta River, which flows through both Sikkim and West Bengal, saw its water levels rise alarmingly.

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Following the flash floods, a significant search and rescue operation was launched to locate 23 Army personnel who were reported missing. Videos captured by local residents depicted the river waters washing away a substantial section of the road. The Central Water Commission reported that at 6 am on Wednesday, Teesta was flowing below the warning level but was expected to surpass this level within six hours.

The flash floods wreaked havoc as they surged through River Teesta, sweeping away the Indreni Bridge in Singtam town, located about 30 kilometers from Gangtok. Additionally, a connecting bridge in the Balutar hamlet was also washed away around 4 am, according to the Gangtok District Administration. Many homes near the river basin in Singtam had to be evacuated to temporary relief camps within the town.

Further north in Chungthang town, approximately 90 kilometers from Gangtok, residents near the Teesta Dam were also rescued. The defense ministry reported damage to two bridges in Dikchu and Toong towns, which connect Singtam to Chungthang in North Sikkim. The Border Road Organisation (BRO) was actively involved in rescuing locals in these areas.

Before the flash floods hit, a warning was issued for the north and east districts of Sikkim. Heavy rain had been pounding parts of Sikkim since the previous night, with concerns about low-lying areas like Gazoldoba, Domohani, Mekhaliganj, and Ghish. Although no injuries were reported, there was significant damage to public property, and several people were reported missing.

Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, during a visit to Singtam, assured that relief operations were underway. Residents living along the Teesta riverbanks were strongly advised to evacuate their homes to ensure their safety. An alert message from the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority cautioned everyone to stay vigilant and avoid traveling along the Teesta river basin.

The weather office issued a tweet indicating that light to moderate rainfall was expected over Sikkim for the next 3-4 days.

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