In an unfortunate incident an avalanche hit around 12:15 PM on the 4th April, 2023. This happened on the Jawaharlal Nehru road connecting Gangtok with Nathu La when numerous tourists were in the area.
As of now 7 persons have been confirmed dead. 4 are Indian Nationals & 3 are Nepali Nationals. It is very saddening that one of the deceased is a child.
Then National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is putting an all out effort in finding those trapped in the aftermath of the avalanche.
During the rescue operations on the evening of 4th April another avalance hit the area hence for some time the rescue operation was called off. Weather conditions are very harsh currently with warnings of further escalation in the weather.
The Indian Army has rescued 23 injured people so far. 13 of them were brought to STNM Hospital in Gangtok & 9 were discharged later.
At present, rescue operations are also being carried out by Sikkim Police, Travel Agents Association of Sikkim, tourism department officials, and vehicle drivers.
The Sikkim Police has issued a statement that the tourists did not have required permissions to travel beyond Milestone 13. The tourists forces the vehicle drivers to go further ahead and got stuck between Milestone 13 & 17.
As per information shared by Inspector General for Checkpost Sonam Tenzing Bhutia of the Sikkim Police, “Passes are issued for only 13th Mile, but tourists are forcefully going to 15th Mile. The incident happened in 15th mile.” The Police Officer also said that all efforts are ON to find the missing.
In the higher altitude parts of Sikkim, it snows a lot all year long, but especially from January to March during the winter. The snow line goes from 20,000 feet up in the north to 16,000 feet down in the south, and avalanches happen often in the area. Most of the time, the people who were killed were soldiers who were guarding high posts, mountain climbers, or tourists.
Many of these areas are far away and don’t have good ways to communicate, which makes the situation even worse. Because mountain regions are getting more tourists, which is good for their economy, and more border guards are dying while doing their jobs, it has become very important to manage avalanche disasters in a proactive way, focusing on preventing them instead of trying to help people who are already hurt.
Emergency Contact Numbers
Please contact the below numbers of NDRF:
What is an Avalanche ?
An Avalanche is a large amount of ice, snow, dirt, or rock falling suddenly and quickly down the side of a mountain.
Every year avalanches kill more than 150 people worldwide. In 90% of avalanche accidents, the victim or someone in the victim’s party causes the snow slide. The human body is 3 times denser than avalanche debris and will sink quickly. When the slide slows, clear air space to breathe, then punch your hand skyward.
Click below to check 11 facts about avalanches.
The Indian PM Shri Narendra Modi expressed his condolences on this tragic event.
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