The death toll in flash floods that hit India’s northeastern Sikkim state on Wednesday has risen to 40, with the number of people missing also estimated to have hit over 200, authorities said on Friday.
The floods which occurred after heavy rainfall caused a glacial lake to overflow and flood surrounding areas with ice-cold water, is the worst disasters in the region in 50 years, with the floods washing away houses, bridges, and forcing thousands of people to flee their homes for safety.
According Indian government officials, 15 bridges in the state have been washed away, including all bridges downstream of an NHPC hydropower station Teesta-V.
“We are evacuating people through helicopters provided by the army and the air force,” Vinay Bhushan Pathak, Sikkim state chief secretary, said in a statement on Friday.
Local media also reports that about 2,400 people have been rescued since Wednesday and 26 injured individuals were taken to hospitals while rescue workers are still trying to locate missing people, including 23 army personnel.
A statement from the Press Trust of India also said that the bodies of four army soldiers had been found while it was not immediately clear whether they were among the 23 missing soldiers.
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