With the weather improving in flood-hit Sikkim on Monday, the authorities have intensified the process of evacuating the stranded people, including some 1700 tourists, from the higher reaches of the mountainous state to relatively safe places, including Mangan, using Indian Air Force helicopters, official sources said.
The first batch of 89 tourists was airlifted by the Indian Army from North Sikkim’s Lachung. The stranded tourists, including 63 foreign travellers, were seen arriving at Ringhim Helipad, Mangan, the sources said. Five Thai tourists were among the evacuees.
“These tourists have been stranded since October 4 when the cloudburst took place, triggering flash floods in Sikkim. The Indian Army, NDRF & civil administration are on the job to airlift tourists as the weather looks clear today (Monday),” a volunteer Raj Basu told UNI over phone.
A Defence helicopter from Pakyong (east Sikkim) flew to Lachung along with relief materials before the evacuation happened for the first batch of the stranded people.
“If weather permits, the Indian Army would also conduct aerial survey of Lachen, the last village of terreninian north Sikkim and Chungthang, the two areas largely ravaged by the flooding of the Teesta river,” the sources added.
Meanwhile, according to reports, nine Chungthang dam workers have taken shelter in a nearby ITBP camp. They escaped when an alert was sounded on October 3 night.
A bamboo bridge has been set up for facilitating travel to and from Chungthang.
UNI PC-NN SY SSP