At least 77 people died in a Himalayan valley in northeast India after flash floods caused by the overflowing of a glacial lake on Wednesday, according to a new report released today. Sunday by the authorities.
In Sikkim, “twenty-nine bodies were recovered from different places,” state official Anilraj Rai told AFP.
In neighboring West Bengal, 48 other bodies were found, Jalpaiguri district police told AFP.
More than 100 people are still missing, according to the latest report.
Water levels along the Teesta River have returned to normal, four days after flash floods triggered by the overflowing of a glacial lake, an official at the state disaster control center told AFP of Sikkim.
Lake Lhonak, which overflowed on Wednesday, causing significant destruction in a valley downstream, is located at the foot of a glacier near Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world.
Deadly floods in India © AFP – John SAEKI
Bridges, roads and telephone lines have been washed away by water, further complicating evacuations.
< p>More than 2,500 people have been rescued, but 3,000 others are still stranded in improvised relief camps in the north of the state, rescue operations by plane having been delayed due to bad weather.
In total, more than 1,200 houses were damaged, according to the Sikkim state government.
Among the dead are eight Indian army soldiers stationed in Sikkim, located on India's remote border with Nepal and China and which has a significant military presence.
India's Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that floods had swept away “firearms and explosives” stored in military camps.
Photo released by the Indian Ministry of Defense, October 5, 2023, of search operations for flood victims, in the state of Sikkim, India © Indian Ministry of Defense – –
Between 2011 and 2020, Himalayan glaciers melted 65% faster than in the previous decade due to climate change, according to a report published in June by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD ), based in Nepal.
The average surface temperature of the Earth has increased by almost 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times, but high mountain regions around the world have warmed at a rate twice as fast, according to climatologists.
All reproduction and representation rights reserved. © (2023) Agence France-Presse