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Torrential Rains and Landslides Cause Havoc in Sikkim and Nepal Leaving Six Dead and Thousands Stranded


At least six people have been killed this week and around 2,000 tourists stranded in India’s Himalayan state of Sikkim as landslides and floods wreaked havoc following incessant rainfall, officials confirmed on Friday.

The heavy downpour has not only affected Sikkim but has also had devastating consequences in neighboring Nepal. In the Taplejung district of Nepal, which shares a border with Sikkim, another four people lost their lives when a landslide, triggered by the relentless rains, swept away their house while they were sleeping, officials reported.

In Sikkim, the brunt of the damage was concentrated in the Mangan district, which encompasses north Sikkim and is situated approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Gangtok, the state capital. The local government of the northeastern Indian state highlighted that the region has faced multiple landslides due to the torrential rains.

“It’s been raining continuously for 36 hours. The road to north Sikkim has been damaged in multiple locations, snapping connection to the district,” stated Hem Kumar Chettri, the district magistrate of Mangan.

While assuring the safety of the stranded tourists, which include 11 foreign nationals, Chettri noted that evacuation efforts have been hindered by the extensive damage to the infrastructure. “The stranded tourists are all safe but we have not been able to evacuate them because of the damage,” he said.

Sikkim, known as a small Buddhist state with a population of 650,000, is nestled between Bhutan, China, and Nepal. It is a popular tourist destination renowned for its stunning landscapes and serene monasteries. However, the state frequently faces the threats of natural disasters caused by extreme weather events in the Himalayas. Last year alone, at least 179 people perished in Sikkim after a Himalayan glacial lake outburst led to catastrophic floods.

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Efforts to restore normalcy are already underway, with personnel and machinery deployed to repair the damaged roads. Chettri mentioned that the repair work is expected to be time-consuming due to the extensive damage. “About 50 houses have been partly or fully damaged by the rains, and people have been taken to a relief camp,” he added.

The situation in Nepal is equally grim, with the eastern parts of the country experiencing heavy rains, while the western regions are grappling with one of their hottest seasons, according to weather officials. The duality of harsh weather conditions is causing widespread distress among the affected populations.

As the affected regions grapple with the aftermath of the devastating rains and landslides, the priority remains to ensure the safety and well-being of the stranded and displaced individuals. Relief operations and aid distribution are being coordinated to provide immediate assistance and to facilitate the repair and rebuilding of crucial infrastructure that has been severely impacted by the relentless weather conditions.

In the wake of this disaster, the resilience of the residents and the prompt response of the local authorities have been commendable. The challenges posed by natural calamities in the Himalayan regions underscore the need for enhanced disaster preparedness and robust infrastructure to withstand such extreme weather events in the future.

As the relief efforts continue, the hopes and prayers of the nation are with the affected communities in Sikkim and Nepal. The focus remains on ensuring the swift restoration of normalcy and providing support to those who have lost their homes and loved ones during this tragic series of events. The cooperative spirit between neighboring regions and countries will play a pivotal role in overcoming the current crisis and rebuilding stronger, more resilient communities in the aftermath of nature’s fury.