SHILLONG: Families of Meghalaya students who were stranded amidst the devastating Sikkim floods breathed a collective sigh of relief as 26 students from the state made a safe return to their homes on Saturday evening. This marks the safe return of all 31 Meghalayan students who were studying in the Himalayan state.
The students’ journey home commenced on October 6 when a bus departed from Majitar in Sikkim and arrived at ISBT, Shillong the next evening. Their rescue became a priority after the Meghalaya government acted swiftly to assist students and citizens caught in the devastating floods.
Speaking to the press, an emotional student conveyed her heartfelt gratitude. “I thank the government for their prompt response and rescuing us during this crisis in Sikkim,” she said.
Earlier on October 6, recognising the dire situation, the Meghalaya government had promptly established a dedicated helpline number – 1800-345-3644 – for its citizens facing distress in Sikkim. Furthermore, in emergencies, Meghalaya residents in Sikkim were also advised to directly contact government officials, A Ali and FB Ramsiej, at their respective contact numbers.
The state’s commitment to its students became evident on October 5 when the Chief Minister acknowledged the pleas for assistance from Meghalaya students studying in Sikkim. In a statement on a popular micro-blogging platform, he confirmed, “The Meghalaya government is actively coordinating with these students to provide all necessary support.”
The catastrophe in Sikkim, which started with an intense cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in northern part of the state on October 4, has been devastating. As of Sunday, the floods have claimed at least 56 lives and 23 army personnel are still missing. The Indian Army has been actively involved in rescue operations, employing helicopters to evacuate those stranded in flood-hit areas.