At least ten people were killed in India’s state of Sikkim and 82 others, including 23 army personnel, were missing after heavy rainfall caused the glacial Lhonak lake to overflow, spurring catastrophic flooding in the region on Wednesday, officials said.
The northeastern state received 40.9 milimetre of rainfall between Tuesday and Wednesday morning, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) – almost five times its normal rate of 8.6 mm for this time of the year.
“So far, 10 bodies have been recovered from different locations. At least 82 more are missing and 22 people are injured, some of them seriously,” Sikkim Chief Secretary V B Pathak told Reuters.
⚡23 Indian Army Personnel Reported Missing in Sikkim Flash Floods
A cloudburst in the area resulted in the water levels of a local river surging, with vehicles and roads swept away.
— RT_India (@RT_India_news) October 4, 2023
A cloudburst – or an extreme amount of rain over a brief period of time – over Lhonak lake triggered torrential flooding in the valley located about 150 km (93 miles) north of Gangtok near the border with China.
Heavy rainfall hampered the search for the Indian troops reported missing, with the capital city of Gangtok cut off by road, defence officials said.
“Twenty three personnel have been reported missing and some vehicles are reported submerged under the slush. Search operations are underway,” a defence ministry spokesperson said.
India’s weather department has warned of landslides and disruption to flights as heavy rain is predicted to continue over the next two days in some parts of Sikkim.