Army rescues 550 tourists stranded over 8 hours in Sikkim

Gangtok, Oct 13 (IANS) Army provided emergency assistance, including medical care and food, to 550 tourists, who got stuck in north Sikkim for more than eight hours due to landslides at multiple locations and heavy rainfall and brought them back to safe locations, defence officials said on Thursday.
Defence spokesman, Lt. Col Mahendra Rawat said that the tourists in approximately 150 vehicles were stranded till late on Wednesday evening due to landslides at multiple locations and heavy rainfall in between Chungthang to the major tourist destination of Lachung in north Sikkim.
Despite poor telecommunication network and inclement weather with freezing temperature, soldiers from the Lachung camp immediately got into the action on the request of civil administration to provide all out assistance to the stranded tourists and locals.
Lt. Col Rawat said that at a point, tourists started feeling uneasiness due to traffic blockage and harsh weather conditions. The Army provided immediate relief to stranded tourists in terms of water, food and medical care to elderly persons and infants.
Some of the tourists, shivering due to cold conditions, were brought back to the nearest medical facility for further assistance.
The Border Road Organisation also got into action but the route could not re-opened in spite of best efforts due to heavy landslides and unprecedented rainfall throughout the day on Wednesday.
The defence spokesman said that by late evening all tourists were brought back to the safety of their respective hotels in Lachung. Quick reaction by the troops avoided any mishap and provided much appreciated succour to the tourists.
Noting troops deployed in the area are always at forefront to assist the local administration in any emergency relief work for tourists, he said that earlier also during various occasions, crucial human lives were saved due to prompt action by the army.

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