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The Causes Behind The Sikkim Flooding, Explainer

Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora. 34

The recent catastrophe in India’s northeastern state of Sikkim, triggered by the South Lhonak Glacial Lake burst, has left a trail of destruction across four critical districts – Mangan, Gangtok, Pakyong, and Namchi. This calamity not only wreaked havoc on major highways, bridges, and a significant dam but also led to the release of 5.08 million cubic feet of water downstream, intensifying the flooding. Amidst the chaos, 23 army soldiers and 20 civilians have gone missing, prompting a frantic search and rescue operation.

Ignored red flags triggered flash floods in Sikkim | Latest News India -

Source: Hindustan Times

Here are a few reasons why Sikkim is Flooding

The primary trigger for the Sikkim floods was the catastrophic burst of the South Lhonak Glacial Lake. Nestled in the Himalayan terrain, this glacial lake overflowed, sending a surge of water rushing downstream. As this torrential flow reached the Teesta River, it posed an imminent threat to the Chungthang Dam, a pivotal component of the 1200 MW Mega Teesta Stage III Hydro Electric Project.


The Chungthang Dam, standing at an impressive height of 60 meters, was constructed on the Teesta River as part of the ambitious hydroelectric project. However, the bursting of the South Lhonak Glacial Lake proved catastrophic for the dam. The sheer force of the water unleashed by the lake’s rupture led to the dam’s destruction. This event unleashed a massive 5.08 million cubic feet of water downstream, compounding the flood’s devastating impact.

What triggered Sikkim flash floods and what are the worst affected areas?

Source: CNBCTV

The Sikkim floods took a heavy toll on human lives, with 23 army soldiers and 20 civilians reported missing in the aftermath. The surge in water levels, caused by the release of water from the Chungthang Dam, caught both military and civilian vehicles off guard. Army vehicles sustained substantial damage, with some even being swept away by the deluge. In response to this grim situation, a relentless search and rescue operation is underway to locate the missing individuals.

In the wake of this natural disaster, India’s Prime Minister took to Twitter to offer reassurance and support to the Chief Minister of Sikkim. The central government has pledged to provide all possible assistance to the state in its efforts to manage and recover from the crisis. This high-level commitment underscores the severity of the situation and the need for immediate action.

Ignored red flags triggered flash floods in Sikkim |

Source: Mint

Recognizing the gravity of the Sikkim floods, the Chief Minister of the state personally visited the affected areas to assess the extent of the damage. This on-ground inspection not only demonstrates the state government’s commitment to addressing the crisis but also underscores the need for coordinated efforts to mitigate the ongoing impact of the disaster.


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