Sikkim toll touches 23, inclement weather affects relief work

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Sikkim map
Gangtok, Sep 19: At least 23 people died and over hundred were injured in Sikkim after the powerful earthquake left a trail of devastation in the Himalayan state, making relief work difficult due to landslides and road blockages, officials said.

Another eight persons, who were travelling in a bus of Teesta Urja Limited Company in north district, are presumed to be dead after their vehicle got stuck under the debris, Major General S L Narasimhan of GOC 17 Mountain Division, told reporters here.

Deploying 2500 troops and 84 columns, the Army has launched ''Operation Madad'' in the state, he said.

"Around 44 columns are working in Sikkim, another 15 in the east district of state. We are also sending teams to Darjeeling and Kalimpong," he said.

Two districts, west and south, remain inaccessible for the Army so far and no relief work has reached these areas.

"However, the local administration are onto relief work on their own. Army's local commanders have also been alerted," Narasimhan said.

The casualties have occurred mostly in the north district and in towns and villages like Rangpo, Dikchu, Singtam and Chungthang located along the Teesta river, officials in the district control room said.

A group of 14 tourists were rescued by the Army from north Sikkim last night, he said, adding they have been admitted to Chungthang Army Hospital.

Around 300 rescue workers from the National Disaster Response Force are stuck at Bagdogra airport as chopper services to Gangtok is suspended due to inclement weather.

PTI

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