50 stranded tourists evacuated from Chungthang to Mangan in rain-hit Sikkim

Prabhakar Rai, who is the director of Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority, told this newspaper that only the “able-bodied” tourists were evacuated.
BRO officials evacuate tourists stranded in Chungthang, Sikkim, amid incessant rains, on Monday.
BRO officials evacuate tourists stranded in Chungthang, Sikkim, amid incessant rains, on Monday.Photo | Express

Guwahati: The first batch of 50 stranded tourists in rain- and landslide-hit Sikkim were evacuated from Chungthang to Mangan by the personnel of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) on Monday.

The people were evacuated by road. The state government is making arrangements for their food and accommodation at Mangan.

The state capital, Gangtok, is some 60 km away but the road connectivity is disrupted due to landslides. The rains have also breached the roads.

A tourist said, “We came to Sikkim ten days ago from Jharkhand to visit Lachung and other places in North Sikkim. Then, we got stranded due to rains and landslides. We thank the BRO for rescuing us promptly.”

Prabhakar Rai, who is the director of Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority, told this newspaper that only the “able-bodied” tourists were evacuated. “The rain is still on and as such, air evacuation is not possible. The road network is also disrupted. So in between, they had to walk, climb up and down and cross a river,” Rai said.

He said an estimated 1,500 tourists, along with many locals, were stranded in North Sikkim. There is no accessibility and the entire road network has collapsed near Mangan town, he said.

Mangan, Lachung and Chungthang fall under the Mangan district. 

“We are arranging food for the stranded people,” Rai said, adding, “Given the rains, air evacuation is unlikely until June 20 but we are hopeful.” 

The BRO said the incessant rains since June 12 wreaked havoc in North Sikkim. “Due to unprecedented heavy rains, various roads leading to North Sikkim have experienced multiple heavy slides and formation breaches, thereby completely severing connectivity to North Sikkim,” the BRO said in a statement.

It further said that the situation became grave after the collapse of the newly-constructed suspension bridge at Sanklang, as entire connectivity to North Sikkim and the Dzongu region was through this bridge. 

“Despite severe weather conditions and heavy rainfall, the BRO, as the first responder, swung into restoration efforts by mobilising huge manpower and machinery to restore connectivity to North Sikkim at the earliest,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall in Assam and some other states in the Northeast in the next 48 hours.

This prompted the railways to cancel eight trains linking Assam’s Barak valley and Tripura. The trains on this route are required to pass through Assam’s landslide-prone hill district of Dima Hasao.

BRO officials evacuate tourists stranded in Chungthang, Sikkim, amid incessant rains, on Monday.
Rains wreak havoc in Sikkim, leaving over 1,500 tourists stranded

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