120 people of North Sikkim village still untraced

Tung: After Sunday’s earthquake, which struck near Gangtok, there has been no trace of 120 residents of Bay village in North Sikkim.

“We find no trace as yet of 120 people living in 14 huts at Bay village as the area is totally devastated. There is a lot of debris and the residents have gone missing,” National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team in-charge Nisith Upadhyay said.

Four NDRF teams have fanned out to worst-hit Lingu, Sakyang, Pentong and Bay villages in North Sikkim, which have been rendered almost inaccessible after the quake, he said.

“We are afraid some bodies may have been trapped under the flattened houses as boulders are lying strewn all over,” he added.

According to SR Bhutia, deputy director of horticultural society of Sikkim who led the four teams, “we haven’t found any person in the village. We are searching for them.”

Meanwhile, a flash flood at Lachung Chu river has posed a threat of fresh landslides at Lachung, one of the worst-hit by the quake, according to a Geological Survey of India officer. “The flash flood will loosen the soil and may trigger fresh landslides in the area,” the GSI’s Sikkim zone officer said.

Forty personnel of the Reserve Army Engineering regiment were working round-the-clock to clear the National Sikkim Highway blocked by landslides.

Indian Army rescuers gained further access to quake-hit areas with the removal of debris collected on the 70-km Gangtok-Mangan road following the temblor for another 15 KM upto Tung.

Army sources said it would take 10 to 12 days more to reach the affected villages after removing the rocks and boulders blocking the road.

A portion of an entire hill had tumbled down on the highway which leads to the Tibet border.

Personnel of the Army’s engineering regiment have been exploding dynamites to remove the huge boulders that came hurtling down on the highway.

Road connectivity with Chungthang, Lachung and Lachen has not yet been established.