New Delhi, Oct 8 (EFE).- The death toll from the devastating floods in northeastern India has risen to 33, official said Sunday, as rescuers race against the clock to locate over 105 people missing since a cloudburst on Oct.4.
A handout photo made available by India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) shows members of NDRF during a rescue operation in Sikkim, Gangtok district, India 04 October 2023 (issued 05 October 2023).EFE-EPA/NDRF HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
Among the casualties are nine soldiers out of 22 who went missing on Wednesday due to the flooding in the Teesta River near Singtam city of the northeastern state of Sikkim. Authorities said 26 injured were receiving medical treatment.
Rescue teams are diligently searching for the missing persons, but the challenging terrain, compounded by the aftermath of the sudden floods, is making search and rescue efforts more complex.
As of now, over 2,500 people have been rescued from high-risk areas. Approximately 2,700 people have been evacuated by the Sikkim authorities to shelters or safer locations, given that over a 1,000 homes have been completely destroyed.
The flash floods, among the most severe in the region, which shares borders with Nepal, China, and Bhutan, occurred on Oct.4 when the Lhonak glacial lake overflowed, affecting more than 60,000 people.
The catastrophe was exacerbated by a week of relentless rainfall in the region. The breach of the glacial lake washed away homes and roads and caused the Chungthang hydroelectric dam to overflow.
The collapse of the dam, one of the largest in India with the capacity to generate 1,200 megawatts, significantly worsened the flood situation.
Intense monsoon rains cause massive human and material losses in South Asian countries every year, primarily during the monsoon period between May and September.
The rising global temperatures due to climate change threaten increased glacial outbursts.
A study published in 2019 by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) said at least one-third of glaciers in the Hindu Kush and Himalayan mountain ranges are likely to melt, impacting millions of people in South Asia. EFE