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Sikkim quake: 400 foreign tourists stranded in north

September 21, 2011 17:43 IST
The Centre has constituted an inter-ministerial team to visit Sikkim to take stock of the damage following Sunday's devastating earthquake amid fresh reports that 400 foreign tourists were stranded in the worst-hit North Sikkim. Home Minister P Chidambaram will also visit Sikkim on Thursday to review the rescue and relief operations being undertaken in the Himalayan state.

"The Centre has constituted an inter-Ministerial team to visit the affected places in the state and give its recommendations for assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund," a home ministry official said. He said about 400 foreigners are reported to be stranded in North Sikkim.

The number of deaths as reported by the Sikkim government is 57. "This may increase further as rescue and release teams reach further into interior areas," he said.
 The break up of death toll is as follows: East District - 12, North District -40, West District - 4 and South District - 01. Fifty-eight persons are injured. The state government has opened relief camps in each district and 2700 and 550 people have been provided shelter into army camps and Indo-Tibetan Border Police camp (Pengong) respectively.

A total of 5500 army personnel have been deployed for rescue and relief operation. Sixty villages have been physically covered by the team of

army jawans in their search and rescue operations. Two teams of 30 Army Jawans each with RMOs are located in Mangan and Chungthan, 30 sorties have been done by helicopters provided by the ministry of defence for airdropping and reconnaissance.

Food packets have been airdropped in the northern part of the North district at Myang, the official said. He said a total of 700 houses have reportedly collapsed. About 500 houses have been reported to be substantially damaged. In other areas also, extensive damage to houses has been reported.

An aerial survey was carried out by officers of the state government and National Disaster Response Force on Wednesday to identify and list the affected villages.

The road between Mangan and Chungthan, where 16 landslides have been reported, has been opened up to 12 km further north of Mangan. The Border Roads Organisation and army engineers are working for restoration of different roads.

Sikkim has 15 sub-stations of 66 kilowatt, out of which six were down. Three have been restored. All the transmission lines and sub-stations of power grid have been restored. Power supply is normal except in the northern part of north district. Landline and microwave links are operational. Sufficient stock of essential commodities such as foodgrains, petroleum products and LPG are available in the state, the official said.

The home ministry has dispatched 1000 blankets and 400 extendable tents and 200 arctic tents to the affected areas, he said.


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