Sikkim grapples with a rising death toll and missing persons as flash floods devastate the state. Relief efforts and government aid initiated
The Sikkim flash flood tragedy has taken the lives of 53 people, including seven brave army personnel, while 142 individuals remain missing. This heartbreaking disaster, initiated by a cloudburst in the early hours of Wednesday, has left more than 25,000 people affected, with over 1,200 houses damaged and 13 bridges washed away in this idyllic Himalayan state.
In response to this crisis, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang announced on Friday an ex-gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh for the families of those who lost their lives in the flash floods. Additionally, he extended immediate assistance of Rs 2,000 to those seeking refuge in relief camps.
So far, rescue efforts have managed to save 2,413 people from various areas, but 6,875 individuals are currently seeking shelter in 22 relief camps scattered throughout the state. Many of these regions have been cut off from the rest of the country due to the destruction.
Tragically, the bodies of seven Army personnel were discovered downstream of the Teesta River. Unfortunately, inclement weather in the northeastern state is making search and rescue operations difficult, forcing both army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel to navigate treacherous terrain, including trekking and even using boats to reach the flood-affected areas.
To address the magnitude of the situation, the Ministry of Home Affairs has formed an Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) tasked with assessing the damages caused by the flash flood. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has also authorized the release of both instalments of the central share of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) amounting to Rs 44.80 crores in advance for the year 2023-24. This financial support will enable the state to provide much-needed relief to those affected.
Furthermore, the IMCT will soon visit the affected areas of Sikkim. Based on their assessment, additional Central assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) will be approved, following established procedures, to aid Sikkim in its recovery efforts.
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