Inondations en Inde : Le bilan de la rupture d’un lac glaciaire dans l’Himalaya s’élève à 74 morts, au moins 100 personnes sont toujours portées disparues

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The death toll from flash floods in India’s Himalayas has risen to 74 after a glacial lake burst its banks, according to provincial officials. The floods were triggered by days of torrential rain in the northeastern state of Sikkim, causing water to sweep down narrow river valleys from Lohnak Lake, damaging a dam and wreaking destruction in villages and Rangpo town.

Search and rescue efforts have been hindered by damaged roads, poor communications, and bad weather, with 101 people still missing days after the calamity struck. Among the missing are 14 army personnel, adding to the complexity of the rescue mission. The region has been grappling with one of the worst disasters in over 50 years, with residents struggling to clear sludge and debris as they cope with the aftermath of the floods.

The impact of the extreme weather events in the Himalayas has been devastating, with 41 bodies found in the district of Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, and the bodies of eight army personnel found in the neighboring downstream state of West Bengal. Sikkim’s chief secretary Vijay Bhushan Pathak has stated that the floods are the latest in a series of natural disasters caused by extreme weather events in the Himalayas.

The floods have been attributed to the swelling of Lhonak Lake, a large glacial bullet-shaped water body at the foot of a melting glacier. An analysis of images has shown that over 60% of the water held in the lake drained out following the extreme rainstorm, triggering the glacial lake outburst. A study has identified Lhonak Lake as one of the fastest swelling glacial lakes in the region with a high risk for a potential glacial outburst.

Mukesh Kumar, a 43-year-old migrant worker in Rangpo, described the harrowing experience of narrowly escaping the flash flood, emphasizing the urgency and severity of the situation. Residents have reported that many people whose dwellings were on the ground floor could not have survived, highlighting the destructive force of the floods.

The ecologically sensitive Himalayan region is known as the rooftop of the world and is prone to flash floods and landslides. Scientists have pointed out that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense as the human-caused climate crisis accelerates, putting vulnerable communities at greater risk.

Despite the challenges, efforts have been made to aid the affected population, with about 2,000 tourists stuck in cut-off areas of northern Sikkim reported to be safe. State authorities and the army have provided them with food and communication facilities to contact their families, alleviating some of the distress caused by the disaster.

It is evident that the impact of the flash floods in the Himalayas has been severe, with the death toll rising and large-scale devastation occurring in Sikkim and surrounding areas. The urgent need for coordinated rescue and relief efforts, as well as addressing the root causes of such disasters, is paramount in order to mitigate the impact of similar events in the future.

[For more information on this story, visit Reuters](

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