India floods leave 14 dead and 100 missing after sudden rainfall swamps several towns

By Isaac M October 5, 2023

At least 14 people have died and more than 100 are missing after sudden rain flooded towns in northeastern India.

More than 2,000 people were rescued after Wednesday’s deluge, the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority said, adding that authorities have set up 26 relief camps for over 22,000 people affected by the floods.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that 102 people were missing and cited state government officials saying 14 people died in the floods.

Among the missing were 22 army soldiers, with one later rescued by authorities.

A vehicle that got washed away lies beneath a tree after flash floods triggered by a sudden heavy rainfall swamped the Rangpo town in Sikkim, India, Thursday, Oct.5. 2023. The flooding took place along the Teesta River in the Lachen Valley of the north-eastern state, and was worsened when parts of a dam were washed away. (AP Photo/Prakash Adhikari)
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Pic: AP

A vehicle that got washed away lies atop a submerged building after flash floods triggered by a sudden heavy rainfall swamped the Rangpo town in Sikkim, India, Thursday, Oct.5. 2023. The flooding took place along the Teesta River in the Lachen Valley of the north-eastern state, and was worsened when parts of a dam were washed away. (AP Photo/Prakash Adhikari)
Image:
Pic: AP

Some army camps and vehicles were submerged under mud following the floods.

It was also reported that more than 3,000 tourists were stranded in the region.

Eleven bridges were washed away by floodwaters, which also hit pipelines and damaged or destroyed more than 270 houses in four districts, officials said.

The flooding occurred along the Teesta River in the Lachen Valley in Sikkim state and was worsened when parts of a dam were washed away.

Buildings are inundated after flash floods triggered by a sudden heavy rainfall swamped the Rangpo town in Sikkim, India, Thursday, Oct.5. 2023. The flooding took place along the Teesta River in the Lachen Valley of the north-eastern state, and was worsened when parts of a dam were washed away. (AP Photo/Prakash Adhikari)
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Pic: AP

A building stands inundated after flash floods triggered by a sudden heavy rainfall swamped the Rangpo town in Sikkim, India, Thursday, Oct.5. 2023. The flooding took place along the Teesta River in the Lachen Valley of the north-eastern state, and was worsened when parts of a dam were washed away. (AP Photo/Prakash Adhikari)
Image:
Pic: AP

Several towns, including Dikchu and Rangpo in the Teesta basin, were deluged, and schools in four districts were ordered shut until Sunday, the state’s education department said.

Parts of a highway that links Sikkim, the state capital, with the rest of the country were washed away.

Cars lie submerged in water after flash floods triggered by a sudden heavy rainfall swamped the Rangpo town in Sikkim, India, Thursday, Oct.5. 2023. The flooding took place along the Teesta River in the Lachen Valley of the north-eastern state, and was worsened when parts of a dam were washed away. (AP Photo/Prakash Adhikari)
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Pic: AP

A vehicle is seen partially submerged in water after flash floods triggered by a sudden heavy rainfall swamped the Rangpo town in Sikkim, India, Thursday, Oct.5. 2023. The flooding took place along the Teesta River in the Lachen Valley of the north-eastern state, and was worsened when parts of a dam were washed away. (AP Photo/Prakash Adhikari)
Image:
Pic: AP

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office said that the government would support state authorities in the aftermath of the flooding.

The flooding was caused by cloudbursts – sudden, very heavy rains – which are defined as when more than 10cm (3.9 inches) of rainfall occurs within 10 square km (3.8 square miles) within an hour.

Cloudbursts can cause intense flooding and landslides.

Rescue work continues after flash floods triggered by a sudden heavy rainfall swamped the Rangpo town in Sikkim, India, Thursday, Oct.5. 2023. The flooding took place along the Teesta River in the Lachen Valley of the north-eastern state, and was worsened when parts of a dam were washed away. (AP Photo/Prakash Adhikari)
Image:
Pic: AP

Rescue work continues after flash floods triggered by a sudden heavy rainfall swamped the Rangpo town in Sikkim, India, Thursday, Oct.5. 2023. The flooding took place along the Teesta River in the Lachen Valley of the north-eastern state, and was worsened when parts of a dam were washed away. (AP Photo/Prakash Adhikari)
Image:
Pic: AP

Women and children sit at a relief camp after flash floods triggered by a sudden heavy rainfall swamped the Rangpo town in Sikkim, India, Thursday, Oct.5. 2023. The flooding took place along the Teesta River in the Lachen Valley of the north-eastern state, and was worsened when parts of a dam were washed away. (AP Photo/Prakash Adhikari)
Image:
Pic: AP

The Himalayan region where Sikkim is located has seen heavy monsoon rains this season.

Dozens died in flash floods and landslides in August in nearby Himachal Pradesh state.

Record rains in July killed more than 100 people over two weeks in northern India, as roads were waterlogged and homes collapsed.

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