On 18 September 2011, the state of Sikkim was hit by an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale. The epicenter of the earthquake was 64 kilometers North West of Gangtok. The Army was at the forefront of the rescue and relief operations and played a pivotal role in providing immediate succor to the affected people and enabling State administration to restore normalcy in the State. Details of assistance provided are as under:-
Total Columns Deployed. 126 (including two Special Forces columns) comprising approximately 5850 troops were deployed for rescue and relief operations.
Engineer Columns Employed 27 columns were deployed for restoration of road communication in the earthquake affected areas. 10 major road axes were opened by Army in conjunction with BRO. A Bailey Bridge of 150 feet span was also made available (on loan) to civil administration to enable immediate restoration of communication on road Darjeeling - Lebong.
Medical Detachments Employed 20 medical detachments were deployed for providing immediate medical relief to the injured; over 940 civil casualties treated in Military Hospitals.
Cook Houses 11 Cook Houses were established by Army in earthquake affected areas. In addition 3310 Food Packets were air dropped in areas where road communication had been disrupted.
Relief Camps 10 Relief Camps were established by Army, in which 2736 people were provided shelter. In addition, all necessary assistance was given to civil administration for establishment and functioning of relief camps established by them.
An Integrated Command Centre was established in Mangan to coordinate relief operations in conjunction with civil administration.
Army relief columns reached approximately 106 villages affected by the earthquake.
More than 300 hours of flying was been done for casualty evacuation, rescue of stranded people, move of supplies / essential stores and reconnaissance of earthquake affected areas.
Evacuation of Tourists / Civilians - 999 people, including 12 Foreigners (two Norwegian, five Philippines, three South Africans and two Brazilians) were evacuated by Army helicopters.
Casualty Evacuation - 33 civilian casualties were evacuated by Army helicopters.