Thursday, September 22, 2011

Army intensifies rescue operation after Sunday’s killer quake

Trishul broken at ChhaarDhaam,Namchi,Sikkim
The Army and the Border Roads Organisation personnel on Thursday intensified their search and rescue operation at Dzongu, Chungthang and Lachen in Sikkim’s worst-hit North District, which was inaccessible due to debris caused by landslides after Sunday’s killer quake.

The Army and the BRO personnel were busy removing landslides and debris from roads and tunnels to reach the inaccessible remote areas, including seven hamlets in Dzongu, official sources said.

Army personnel involved in the rescue operation at Saffu could not reach the Teesta Urja project site by road, owing to landslides and reached the area through the project tunnels.

Most of the people, including tourists, have been evacuated from Lachen, but there were fresh landslides in the area which, coupled with intermittent rains, made the going difficult for the Army, the sources said.

“We have no idea yet of the condition in villages like Sakyong-Pentong and Bey which were in forest areas beyond Dzongu,” an official said.

The villages in Sikkim are scattered and there is only one major highway connecting Mangan to Dzongu.

Lingza and Bey villages in Upper Dzongu in the North District were reconnected to the outside world for a brief period on Wednesday after remaining cut off for five days, but fresh landslides blocked the road linking the villages to Mangan.

The debris was cleared up to Lingza Falls enabling Army and police personnel to resume their mission to reach food supplies to the marooned people.

From the Lingza Falls they headed onwards the villages on foot.

Local people said some villages like 12 Mile had been completely wiped out.

Power company Teesta Urja on said its under-construction 1,200-MW Teesta State-III hydroelectric project in North District was not much affected by the 6.8 magnitude temblor.

“No section of the tunnels of project works, at Saffu or at any other location on the site, is flooded or has collapsed,” the company said in a statement in New Delhi.

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