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Sikkim Floods

Why is it in the news?

The flood in Sikkim recently, was caused by a Glacier Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF).

More about the news

  • GLOFs occur when large lakes formed from the melting of glaciers break free from their natural dams, known as moraine.
  • The Himalayan region is vulnerable to GLOF events, which are likely to increase in frequency and severity due to rising temperatures and climate change.
  • Sikkim has approximately 80 glaciers, making it prone to GLOF-related disasters.
  • The South Lhonak glacier in north Sikkim, one of the fastest retreating glaciers, was involved in this event.
  • The exact trigger of the Sikkim GLOF is uncertain. However, the satellite images suggest that about 105 hectares of the glacier-fed lake had drained out. Further, heavy rainfall, earthquakes in Nepal are the possible triggers.
  • The flooding resulted in the destruction of the Chungthang dam, impacting the Teesta 3 hydropower project and other hydropower projects along the Teesta River.
  • Early warning systems, coordination among agencies, and monitoring of glacier lakes can help anticipate and mitigate the risk of GLOF events in the future.

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