At least 40 dead and dozens missing as Himalayan lake overflows

The significant damage extended more than 120 kilometers downstream. Authorities said roads in the region were “severely” damaged and 14 bridges were destroyed.


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Army personnel respond to the aftermath of a flash flood in North Sikkim district, India, October 5, 2023. (INDIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE / AFP)

Indian rescuers are searching for dozens of missing people in a valley in northeast India. Flash floods caused by the overflow of a Himalayan glacial lake have claimed at least 40 lives, authorities reported on Friday, October 6. “Nineteen bodies were found”said VB Pathak, the highest official in Sikkim state, to AFP. While Shama Parveen, a district magistrate in neighboring West Bengal, reported that 21 more bodies had been found in her state in the last three days.

>> IN PICTURES. India: Floods and devastation after lake flooding

The affected area, a remote mountainous region of the Himalayas, is close to the borders of Nepal and China. Lake Lhonak, which overflowed on Wednesday and caused significant destruction in a valley downstream, lies at the foot of a glacier near Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak.

Then a veritable wall of water poured into a river that was already swollen from the monsoon rains. The water damaged a dam and washed away houses and bridges, among other things “serious destruction”, described the Sikkim government. The significant damage extended more than 120 km downstream. The roads in the region are “seriously” According to authorities, 14 bridges were damaged and destroyed. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised “all possible support” to affected population groups.

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