Nearly 350 people have been rescued by the Indian Army in Sikkim over the last two days, after torrential rain and massive landslides hit the hill state. Five helicopters of the army evacuated stranded tourists, locals and security personnel posted at the border.
The helicopters of the Army's 112 Mountain Brigade, posted in north Sikkim, started the sorties at about 6.30 am on Sunday, September 16, to airlift the stranded people and through the day over 100 tourists, including a pregnant woman, 216 Army personnel and 12 personnel of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were rescued. 22 tonnes of relief material were also air-dropped in the remote villages.
According to NDTV, the relief and restoration work in Sikkim is being carried out on a war footing since the rain stopped late on Sunday, September 16. The state power department has restored electricity connections in most parts of Sikkim and water supply has also been restored, say government officials.
#SavingLives :Due to floods & landslides in Sikkim, road network is badly damaged. Request from army & civil admin received to airlift stranded people from Chungtang, Chhaten, Kalimpong & Mangan to Gangtok.— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) September 16, 2018
IAF Mi17 airlifted a total of 15.5T load &128 pax (88Army & 40civilians). pic.twitter.com/iZc44jFQKz
The forest department officials and the quick response team have cleared all the blocked roads in Mangan town and other areas, along with the North Sikkim highway. MLA of Lachen-Mangan, T W Lepcha, MLA of Dzongu, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha and Rajya Sabha MP, Hissey Lachungpa are touring the various affected places in the district with the officials to assess the damages, they added.
A bridge over Rafong Khola between Mangan and Chungthang was washed away on September 13 and a temporary log bridge has been built for evacuation. Landslides at several locations along the National Highway 10 had completely damaged the stretch between Mangan and Chungthang.
Officials of the state government have said many mountain streams are in spate and still bringing down boulders, causing landslides.