A flooding in Indian Himalayas kills 50 and leaves tourists stranded

(Image source: Yahoo!)

Severe flooding has struck India’s northeastern region, particularly the Himalayan state of Sikkim, resulting in significant damage and casualties. Approximately 50 bodies have been recovered, with dozens more individuals missing, and over a thousand tourists find themselves stranded. The flooding was triggered by an overflow from a glacial lake in Sikkim, following a sudden and intense cloudburst of rainfall.

In Sikkim, there have been 27 confirmed fatalities, while at least 23 bodies were discovered downstream in the neighboring West Bengal state. The deluge caused extensive destruction, including the loss of the Sikkim Urja hydroelectric dam, over a dozen bridges, a sewerage treatment plant, and various roads and highways. Rescue efforts have managed to evacuate nearly 2,500 people to safety, and thousands are being housed in relief camps.

Helicopter evacuations and supply drops are scheduled as soon as weather conditions permit. As of the latest update, around 1,471 tourists remain stranded in the affected area, but they are reported to be safe. The state tourism office has advised potential travelers to postpone their trips to the region.

The Himalayan region is prone to flooding, with climate change exacerbating the frequency and severity of such events. Glacial lake bursts, like the one that triggered this disaster, are expected to increase in the coming years, with numerous glacial lakes identified as having a high risk of bursting. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the region’s hydroelectric infrastructure, commissioned in 2017, potentially contributing to the catastrophe.

In response to the crisis, the Indian government has approved nearly $5.4 million for disaster relief and has deployed search and rescue teams, including the National Disaster Response Force, Indian Air Force, and Army personnel. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and pledged support to those affected by the disaster.