The Prem Singh Tamang-led government in Sikkim has called on prospective visitors to postpone their travel plans to the Himalayan state in the wake of a devastating flash flood that has claimed at least 14 lives, with 102 individuals still missing, according to reports by PTI.
Evacuation Efforts Underway
The state government has initiated efforts to evacuate stranded individuals in the flood-affected Mangan district, reassuring them not to panic. The evacuation process is set to commence on Friday.
With over 3,000 tourists, including foreign nationals, currently stuck in various parts of Sikkim, the government aims to ensure their safety.
Tourism Department Issues Advisory
The Tourism and Civil Aviation Department has issued a formal advisory, advising all tourists planning to visit Sikkim to delay their trips until the situation stabilizes.
The department has pledged full support for the upcoming evacuation process, scheduled to commence on October 6, subject to favourable weather conditions.
Restricted Access to Popular Destinations
In response to the crisis, Chief Minister Tamang has directed officials to halt the issuance of permits to tourists for popular destinations like Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir, and Nathula, effective Friday.
The Tourism and Civil Aviation Department has provided reassurance about the safety of tourists in the Lachung and Lachen areas, confirming that they are secure and unharmed.
Appeal to Tourism Industry Stakeholders
In another advisory, the state government has appealed to hoteliers, travel agents, tourist taxi drivers, and other stakeholders in the tourism sector to offer their assistance to stranded travellers during this flood crisis.
They have requested that all stakeholders cooperate by maintaining reasonable rates for accommodations and taxi services during these trying times.
Indian Army’s Support
The Indian Army has stepped in to assist by providing satellite phones to stranded tourists, allowing them to communicate with their loved ones from remote and inaccessible locations in northern Sikkim, one of the regions severely affected by the flash flood in the Teesta river basin.
Ongoing Search and Rescue
Indian Army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have continued their search and rescue efforts for the second consecutive day. So far, they have recovered 14 bodies, while 102 individuals, including 22 army personnel, remain missing.
This catastrophe has affected a total of 22,034 people, according to the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA).
As the situation continues to evolve, the government and rescue teams are working tirelessly to provide aid and support to those affected by this devastating flash flood. Tourists are urged to prioritize their safety and heed the government’s advice to delay their visits until normalcy is restored in the region.
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