Over a Thousand Tourists Await Rescue Amidst North Sikkim’s Landslide Aftermath

North Sikkims Landslide Aftermath

Gangtok: In the wake of severe storms and relentless rainfall, approximately 1,200 tourists find themselves trapped in North Sikkim for four days, with rescue efforts hampered by the inclement weather. Despite plans for an airlift evacuation from Lachung and Chungthang, the persistent bad weather has rendered such operations impossible.

The region has suffered extensive damage due to landslides, resulting in severed connections to major areas. The calamity claimed nine lives on Thursday, with the Mangan district bearing the brunt of the fatalities. Since Saturday, thankfully, no further loss of life has been reported.

In a display of communal solidarity, 200 tourists have sought refuge within the welcoming walls of Chungthang’s Gurudwara. The rest are scattered throughout Lachung. With air travel currently suspended, authorities, alongside travel and tour operators, have resolved to transport tourists via road to Tung starting Monday. The journey spans a mere 13 kilometers but is fraught with challenges due to road damage at five different locations, causing vehicular congestion.

Sonam Lachungpa, President of the Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS), outlines the arduous vehicle-based rescue plan: tourists will be ferried to points where the road is intact, then transferred to another vehicle to continue to Tung. This method is expected to be time-consuming.

North Sikkims Landslide Aftermath

Amidst growing anxiety among the stranded, State Tourism Minister Tshering Thendup Bhutia assures that all tourists are safe but understandably anxious.

Compounding the region’s isolation, National Highway 10 Sikkim’s vital connection to Bengal’s Kalimpong district was shut down on Sunday due to ongoing rockfalls. Authorities have decided to keep this critical artery closed for safety.