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Flood kills 56 in India, army warns of public safety risk




At least 56 people have been confirmed dead in floods that hit India’s northeast as of Saturday, with the army warning that munitions washed away by the flood posed a public safety risk.

On Wednesday, violent torrents swept over Sikkim state following the sudden rupture of a high-altitude glacier lake.

Climate experts warn that comparable calamities will become an increasing hazard across the Himalayas as global temperatures increase and ice melts.

“So far, 26 bodies have been found in Sikkim,” state relief commissioner Anilraj Rai told AFP by phone.

Thirty more dead were retrieved from the Teesta river basin by search and rescue teams in neighbouring West Bengal state, according to Jalpaiguri district police chief K. Umesh Ganpat.

“The river stretches up to 86 kilometres,” he added. “The search operation is continuing.”

Seven Indian army personnel were killed in Sikkim, which sits on India’s remote borders with Nepal and China and has a sizable military presence.

Sixteen troops are among the more than 100 people who remain unaccounted for.

India’s defence ministry said in a statement that the floods had washed away “firearms and explosives” from military camps.

The army has “established lookout teams all along the river” to recover loose ordnance, the ministry added.

According to local media reports on Friday, two people were killed and four others were injured after a mortar round detonated while travelling through flood waters in West Bengal.

Roads, bridges, and phone lines have been wrecked across much of the state, hindering evacuations and efforts to contact thousands of people who have been shut off from the rest of the country.

According to the most recent Sikkim government bulletin, the floods had damaged nearly 1,200 dwellings.

According to the bulletin, over 2,400 people had been evacuated, while about 7,000 more were finding refuge in temporary relief camps put up at schools, government buildings, and guesthouses.

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