10 Killed, 102 Missing In India’s Glacial Lake Burst

On Thursday, Indian rescue teams combed the area in search of 102 individuals who had gone missing following a destructive flash flood. This flood was caused by the bursting of a glacial lake at high altitude, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 10 lives, as confirmed by officials.

The increased occurrence of severe flooding from glacier lakes that are obstructed by unstable rock has become a more common occurrence. This trend is attributed to the rising global temperatures and the subsequent melting of ice. Climate scientists have issued warnings about the growing threat this poses to the broader Himalayan mountain range.

“At least 10 people were killed and 102 others reported missing,” Prabhakar Rai, director of the Sikkim state disaster management authority, told AFP a day after a wall of water rushed down the mountainous valley in northeastern India.

Authorities reported significant damage to roads, including the severe destruction of 14 bridges, as a result of the disaster.

Rescuers faced the challenge of assisting those affected by the flood, given the disruption in communications over extensive areas and the blockage of roadways.

“Floodwaters have caused havoc in four districts of the state, sweeping away people, roads, bridges,” Himanshu Tiwari, an Indian Army spokesman, told AFP.

Among the missing individuals, the army reported that 22 of them were soldiers. Fortunately, one soldier who was previously missing has been successfully rescued.

The army issued a statement indicating their efforts to restore telephone connections and provide medical assistance to both tourists and local residents who find themselves stranded.

The surge of water occurred following heavy rainfall, causing the high-altitude Lhonak Lake, situated at the base of the peaks surrounding the world’s third-highest mountain, Kangchenjunga, to burst.

Research conducted by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has revealed that Himalayan glaciers are melting at an accelerated rate due to climate change. This puts communities at risk of facing increasingly unpredictable and expensive disasters.


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