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Quake in Northeast India: Death toll 35; Rescue operations on

Monday September 19, 2011 01:27:55 PM, IANS

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Deaths, destruction as strong quake jolts India, Nepal

At least eight people were killed and nearly 100 injured Sunday as a 6.8 intensity earthquake violently hit the Sikkim-Nepal border region, jolting large parts of India, Bangladesh and Nepal too. 

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Gangtok/Kolkata/Patna: At least 35 people were killed and hundreds injured in India in the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that wreaked havoc in the Sikkim-Nepal border region Sunday, officials said Monday.

The high-intensity quake rocked large parts of northern and eastern India and eastern region of Nepal just after 6 p.m. Sunday. It was followed by two after-shocks.

Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh, in New Delhi, put the casualty figure at 25. However, figures made available officially in Sikkim, West Bengal and Bihar pointed to the higher toll.

Sikkim, the epicentre of the quake, was the worst-affected, accounting for 23 deaths with the figure likely to go up, according to officials. Six people were killed in the northern districts of West Bengal and another six in Bihar, reports said.

In Nepal, which experienced its biggest quake in 80 years, nine people had died as per latest reports.

Neighbouring Tibet reported seven deaths in Sunday's quake.

An early morning mild quake in Maharashtra triggered more fears, though it was of 3.9 magnitude only.

Sikkim was cut-off from the rest of the country due to landslides triggered by the quake which blocked national highway 31-A at eight places, said G. Anandan, district magistrate, Sikkim East.

As many as 25 concrete bridges were damaged between West Bengal's Siliguri and Gangtok on the 120-km stretch of national highway 31-A, he said. Five National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were unable to reach Sikkim due to the landslides.

About 10 army combat engineer columns were rushed with equipment for opening the blocked road between Siliguri and Gangtok. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) was also mobilised for restoring normal traffic on NH-31A.

About 50 army columns -- comprising medical teams, engineer detachments and relief units -- in small teams were deployed across Sikkim -- where over 200 people have been injured, and at Siliguri and Binaguri towns in West Bengal.

The Sikkim secretariat building in Gangtok also developed cracks.

In neighbouring West Bengal, two people died in Siliguri, three in Darjeeling and one in Jalpaiguri district, police said.

Many patients in a nursing home in Siliguri were also injured, North Bengal Affairs Minister Gautam Deb said late Sunday. The injured figure is said to be over 200.

Power supply was disrupted in areas near Sikkim -- at Kalimpong, adjoining Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts. A sub-station was damaged in Siliguri but the supply was restored late Sunday.

"Most of the north Bengal areas, including Darjeeling, were lashed by heavy rains that continued through Sunday night. The situation deteriorated with landslides in Kalimpong and Kurseong (in Darjeeling)," Deb said.

In Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced Rs.1.5 lakh compensation for the kin of each of the six deceased.

A seven-year-old girl died at Harnaut in Nalanda in a wall collapse while a man died in Darbhanga and another in Bhagalpur when they fell down while running for safety during the earthquake.

Two people died in Nawada and another person in Patna.

In Nepal, which was hit in the eastern region and capital city Kathmandu, over 100 people were injured with hundreds of houses and buildings collapsing.

Three people died in a wall collapse in capital Kathmandu while over 50 were injured trying to jump from windows and balconies in panic.

The nine-foot-wall fencing the compound of the British Embassy in Kathmandu, close to the Indian Embassy, collapsed, smashing down on a two-wheeler, a car and a pedestrian.


 






 

 

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