Preserving Sikkim: Addressing the Devastating Impact of GLOF

  Oct 18, 2023

GLOF in Sikkim

The Havoc In Sikkim

The tragic event that unfolded in Sikkim due to a glacial lake outburst serves as a cautionary tale of the impact of environmental changes and infrastructural projects on vulnerable regions. Here's a deep dive into what transpired, its consequences, and the ongoing debates surrounding the disaster.

The Catastrophe: A Snapshot

On October 4, a glacial lake breach led to a sudden surge of water, causing massive destruction. The disaster swept away the Chungthang dam, critical to the Teesta-III hydropower project, claimed at least 94 lives, and damaged numerous properties.

Geographical Backdrop and Cultural Context

Sikkim, enriched with rivers and folklore, has been the site of numerous hydropower projects. The tale of the male river Rangeet and the female river Rungnyu is often retold, symbolizing the unpredictability and potential wrath of nature.

Impact on Local Communities

The event had a devastating effect on the livelihoods of people residing in Rangpo and Singtam. The community displayed tremendous courage and resilience, with many joining hands for relief efforts.

Industry and Infrastructure

Sikkim is home to several pharmaceutical companies. The recent disaster puts a spotlight on the positioning of these industries along the Teesta and its tributaries, especially considering the sudden rise in real estate prices post-2011.

Political Response and Blame Game

While Sikkim received more than Rs.44 crore for disaster relief, political leaders engaged in a blame game, pointing fingers at the quality of dam construction and past governments.

Warnings and Future Implications

Many, including local communities who had opposed the dam constructions, see this as a grim reminder and call for reconsideration of such infrastructural developments.


What caused the disaster?

The disaster was caused by a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF).

Who are most affected by this catastrophe?

Local communities in Rangpo and Singtam are most severely impacted.

What has been the governmental response?

The government has been swift in providing relief and has allocated significant funds for disaster management.

Is the Teesta-III hydropower project to blame for the disaster?

The question remains a point of contention among political leaders.

What are the community efforts in dealing with the crisis?

Despite their losses, community members have come together for rescue and relief efforts, highlighting the strength and resilience of the local population.

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