Friday, August 21, 2009


1.Daramdin BDO office
2.Church Gaon
3.Injured people being helped by local people
SOMBARIA, August 20: Two persons were killed, eight people were injured, scores of houses including government structures were damaged and cattle and standing crops were washed away by a massive landslide at Sombaria, West Sikkim yesterday night even as reports of more slides have been pouring in from other parts of the district.
The Sombaria block faced the burnt of the rash of slides in West Sikkim triggered by heavy downpour in the last few days.
With connecting roads washed away or disrupted by slides, the Sombaria block is cut off and reeling under drinking water and power crises.
The deaths were reported from Church Gaon, Upper Fambung near Sombaria bazaar when the BDO Jhora in the area came apart at seams and threatened the bazaar with its slush and water. Ten people from the area had ventured outside in darkness in a vehicle to contain the threatening discharge of the jhora only to be greeted by a sudden slide.
The slide buried Sameer Subba (18) and Puspamani Pradhan (60) while injuring the remaining eight persons. Deceased Subba was from Saramsa in East Sikkim and was visiting his relatives at Sombaria.
The seriously injured persons have been identified as Sanstosh Sharma who is an Assistant Engineer of Roads & Bridges department, Gorakh Rai, Laxmi Rai, Anish Chettri, KB Gurung, Rupesh Pradhan and PB Gurung.
Mr. Sharma was airlifted by a chopper to a nursing home in Siliguri while the others have been forwarded to STNM hospital in Gangtok.
The slides have also partially damaged the new Block Administrative Centre at Sombaria with its main entrance choked by the mud and debris of the slides. The nearby Forest department block officer’s quarters and Shiva Mandir have also been damaged.
Four houses have been totally damaged in the slide while another 25 houses have been damaged in various degrees in the area leaving around 150 people without a stable roof over their heads.
An exact assessment was still being carried out and the affected people would be relocated to safer places by the district administration, the sub divisional headquarter and the block administrative centre officials.
There are two routes to Sombaria. The road from Daramdin to Saramsa has been blocked and commuters have to walk some 12 kms to reach Sombaria. The road through Soreng sub division however is open.
After an assessment by district officials, appropriate compensation and ex-gratia payments would be made. Relief materials were also being distributed by the district administration, the officials informed.
The West district collector S Pradhan is touring the affected areas and supervising the relief and rehabilitation measures even as panicked people are fleeing to safer locations.
Hit by the slides, the power lines and three water reservoirs of Sombaria have been washed away creating a drinking water crises in the area. A RCC bridge connecting Sombaria secondary school has been washed away forcing the school authorities to close down the institute for some time being.
At Ringyang, a pair of bullocks was buried by the slides. The local committee school was also damaged.
Meanwhile, reports have been filtering in from other areas of minor slides blocking roads and communication.
All major tourist destinations in the State are blocked.
Routes from Gangtok to Tsomgo – Nathula have been blocked at several places and are likely to reopen only in the next couple of days.
North Sikkim has also been cut off at several places between Mangan-Chungthang cutting off Lachen and Lachung. Some roads in South districts have also been affected but were likely to be restored