This Article is From Sep 23, 2012

24 people feared dead in flash floods in Sikkim, rescue operations on

Chungthang, Sikkim: At least 24 people are feared dead in North Sikkim's Chungthang region after it was hit by flash floods and landslides yesterday, triggered by torrential rains since September 19.  

Nine people from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), 12 from the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and four civilians are among those feared dead.

Houses along the Lachen river between Rangma and Chungthang have been washed out. Several landslides have also blocked the main roads between Chungthang and Pegong. According to SBS Bhaduria, Relief Commissioner of Sikkim, it will take at least a month to restore roads.

Yesterday, Army and Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel made an aerial survey of the affected area, but had to call off the sortie due to bad weather. Two helicopters of the IAF, one helicopter of the Army are deployed for rescue operations. Mr Bhaduria told NDTV that rescue operations are only possible through helicopters right now.

Meanwhile, the Army, ITBP and locals are trying to help with search and rescue operations on the ground. So far, nine bodies have been recovered.

There have been heavy agricultural losses and telephones lines have also snapped. Teams were sent yesterday to try and restore phone cables.

The state government has declared a state of alert along the establishments located on the river banks right from Lachen, Lachung, Chungthang, Mangan, Dikchu, Singtam and Rangpo, a government press release said.

(With inputs from agencies)