Sikkim flash flood: Death toll climbs, Modi announces relief

The search continues for dozens of people after heavy rainfall caused the failure of a dam in the mountainous northeastern state of Sikkim

At least 31 have been killed and dozens remain unaccounted for (photo: DW)
At least 31 have been killed and dozens remain unaccounted for (photo: DW)


At least 31 people have died and dozens more remain missing Friday after flash floods washed away houses and bridges in India's northeast Sikkim state.

Heavy rainfall on Wednesday caused a lake high in the mountains to burst, leading to major flooding that authorities said has impacted the lives of some 22,000 people.

The death toll varied on Friday, with Reuters news agency putting the toll at 40 on Friday. Sikkim officials put the death toll at 18 on Thursday evening.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office announced relief funds for the state and deployed a disaster response team to help affected people, according to a press release by the government.

Soldiers missing in floods

The flooding, which began shortly after Wednesday midnight, was worsened after the waters cracked open a 6-year-old dam in the mountainous state of Sikkim.

Floodwater then gushed through towns in the Lachan Valley, submerging army camps.

At least 23 soldiers were reported missing in the floods on Wednesday, according to the Indian Army. Search and rescue operations are still underway.

Vinay Bhushan Pathak, the state's top bureaucrat, said Thursday that 26 people had been taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

Nearly 3,000 tourists and 700 taxi drivers were also stranded in the flood-hit areas, Pathak added.

Incident is the latest deadly flood to hit northeast India

The incident is the latest deadly flood to hit northeast India in a year of unusually heavy rains.

Nearly 50 people died in flash in Himachal Pradesh state in August. Record rains in July killed more than 100 people over two weeks in northern India.

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