GANGTOK: The evacuation of stranded tourists from Lachen and Lachung in North Sikkim was resumed by the armed forces on Tuesday with the weather remaining clear for the second day, officials said.
Around 95 stranded people were brought from Lachung and Lachen by choppers. The first group from Lachung included 17 tourists and two locals of Lachung village. The choppers made two sorties to the area in the morning. Those from Lachung were being brought to Pakyong Airport near Gangtok.
The first batch of 76 stranded people including two children were evacuated from Lachen by helicopters in three sorties. They were brought to Ringhim Helipad, Mangan The District Magistrate of Mangan, Hem Kumar Chettri said the IAF has presently put three helicopters into action with two choppers flying to Lachen and one to Lachung.
Chettri said at the moment evacuation of tourists and sick people is the first priority of the district administration.
The choppers will carry out more sorties to airlift stranded tourists from Lachung and Lachen towns in the worst-hit Mangan district, officials said.
The state government has arranged SNT buses to help the tourists travel to Siliguri and Gangtok, they said.
Around 3,000 tourists from various parts of the country got stranded in North Sikkim towns after the cloudburst in Lhonak lake caused flash floods in Teesta river which ravaged Chungthang valley and flooded the river basin area in four districts downstream on October 4.
On Monday over 360 tourists were evacuated from Lachen and Lachung.
The DM said that till now a total of over 700 people have been evacuated from flood-hit areas and have been brought to safety, these persons include tourists, locals and labourers who were stuck in areas like Chungthang where a bailey bridge was built for emergency evacuation.
The DM also said that rescue and rehabilitation teams have already reached the affected areas and are working at ground level. He stated that BSNL telephone lines in Lachung have been restored and by this evening telephone connectivity in Lachen and Chungthang will also be restored. He said that power to Chungthang, Lachen and Lachung will also be restored by this evening.
The floods extensively damaged road infrastructure and telecommunication network in North Sikkim as a result of which around 3,000 tourists got stranded for five days.