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Sikkim flash flood: Search operations continue for 142 missing people

Search operations continued on October 7 for the 142 people who are still missing after the flash flood in the Teesta river that devastated Sikkim, officials said.

Twenty-six people including seven Armymen were killed in the flash flood, which was triggered by a cloudburst in the early hours of Wednesday and affected over 25,000 people, damaged more than 1,200 houses and washed away 13 bridges, bringing the picturesque Himalayan State to its knees, they said.

So far, 2,413 people have been rescued from different areas and 6,875 people are taking shelter in 22 relief camps set up across the State, most of which has been cut off from the rest of the country.

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang announced an ex-gratia of ₹4 lakh for the families of the deceased and an immediate relief of ₹2,000 each for all those taking shelter in the camps.

rmy personnel try to recover trucks buried at the area affected by flood in Sikkim in this undated image released by the Indian Army on October 5, 2023. Photo: India Army/Handout via Reuters

“There have been damage worth thousands of crores of rupees. We cannot give exact details about the damage. It will be revealed once a committee is formed and completes its analysis. Our first priority is to save those who are stranded and provide them immediate relief,” he told PTI Video.

“Road connectivity between the districts has been cut off and bridges have been washed away. Communication in North Sikkim has been severely affected,” he added.

Of the 23 Army personnel who had gone missing from Bardang, the bodies of seven have been recovered from different areas downstream of Teesta, while one of them was rescued earlier.

The search for the remaining missing soldiers is continuing both in Sikkim and the northern parts of West Bengal through which the Teesta flows, the Chief Minister said.

At Bardang, Army vehicles have been dug out and stores were recovered, a defence statement said, adding that tracker dogs and special radars have been deployed for assistance in the search operations.

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