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23 Indian Army soldiers missing after flash floods in Sikkim

Chandigarh: At least 23 Indian Army personnel have gone missing due to flash flood in the Indian state of Sikkim.

According to Kashmir Media Service, officials said that Sikkim received heavy rain on Tuesday night. A cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in north Sikkim caused it to overflow and pushed up the water levels in Teesta river. The Teesta river flows through Sikkim and West Bengal before entering Bangladesh.

A statement by the Indian Army’s Eastern Command has said some establishments along Lachen valley have been affected. “Release of water from the Chungthang dam led to a sudden increase in water level upto 15-20 feet high downstream. This has led to Army vehicles parked at Bardang near Singtam getting affected. 23 personnel have been reported missing and some vehicles are reported submerged under the slush. Search operations are underway,” the statement said.

The Sikkim administration has issued a high alert to residents. Videos recorded and shared by local residents show roads washed away and the river in spate.

“Nobody has been injured but there has been significant damage to public property. Some people have also been reported missing in Singtam. Relief operations are on,” said Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang said during a visit to an affected area.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said Teesta is swollen after the lake in Sikkim’s Chungthang overflowed. “Low lying areas such as Gazoldoba, Domohani, Mekhaliganj and Ghish may be affected. Please be alert,” the weather office said.

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