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IMAGES: 6.8 quake leaves Sikkim devastated, Nepal hit

Last updated on: September 18, 2011 23:18 IST

6.8 quake leaves Sikkim devastated, Nepal hit

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A powerful earthquake with a 6.8 magnitude hit Sikkim and several areas in the eastern part of the country and neighbouring Nepal, leaving 18 dead and over 100 injured besides causing extensive damage to buildings and roads.

The epicentre of the quake -- the biggest in two decades -- was located at Mangan and Sakyong areas, over 50 km from Gangtok on the Sikkim-Nepal border.

Seven persons were killed in Sikkim -- two at Singtham in East district, two in Rishi in West district and one at Mangan in North district, said Chief Secretary Karma Gyatso.

Two army jawans were killed in north Sikkim area and three army vehicles including one with army personnel were reported missing, army officials said in Delhi.

In neighbouring West Bengal four deaths were reported -- three in Darjeeling district and one in Jalpaiguri district, Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh said.

Of the deaths in Darjeeling district, one each occurred in Kalimpong, Kurseong and Siliguri sub-divisions, Ghosh said.

In Bihar, two persons were killed in Nalanda and Darbhanga districts, official sources said. A five-year-old girl and a youth were the two victims, they said.

At least five people were killed in Nepal, three of them outside the British Embassy in Kathmandu, when a high brick-wall collapsed.

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Image: Members of the Nepalese army gather around a damaged car after the wall surrounding the British Embassy collapsed on top of the car that was passing by during the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Kathmandu
Photographs: Reuters
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6.8 quake leaves Sikkim devastated, Nepal hit

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Tremors were felt in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, parts of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Delhi.

Several buildings developed major cracks in the state as personnel of the Disaster Management were deployed, Sikkim Chief Secretary Karma Gyatso said.

Two buildings of the Indo Tibetan Border Police collapsed in Pegong area though there was no immediate report of any casualty, a senior official said.

Two major roads in Gangtok -- Nanang and National Highway 31A near Panihouse area - collapsed. Several houses in Bojoghari area and along the bypass in Gangtok suffered major damage.

A large number of people were allowed to enter the state assembly complex to take shelter, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the chief secretary held a high level meeting with heads of several departments like power, water, road and Border Roads Organisation besides disaster management cell to expedite rescue and relief work, officials said.

Three after shocks of 5.7, 5.3 and 4.6 magnitude on the Richter Scale were felt in the region within 30 minutes of the first quake.

"Tremors were felt between 30 seconds to one minute in some parts of Sikkim, including Gangtok," Shailesh Nayak, Secretary in the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said in Delhi.

Gyatso described it as "a massive earthquake. We have alerted the armed forced and the paramilitary personnel."


Image: The epicentre of the quake was located at Mangan and Sakyong areas
Photographs: Courtesy Google Maps
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6.8 quake leaves Sikkim devastated, Nepal hit

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling and offered help in all possible ways, including availability of defence forces.

He directed cabinet secretary to call an emergency meeting of the National Disaster Management Authority, PMO sources said.

Five IAF planes pressed into action for relief operations. Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force -- five each from Delhi and Kolkata -- are being sent to assist in the relief and rescue operations, R K Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Disaster Management, in the Home Ministry, said.

The quake at 18.10 hours occurred 21 km below the surface and IMD experts said the effect was more near the epicentre as the depth was shallow.

Telephone lines went dead and mobile networks got jammed in Gangtok, which plunged into darkness following a major power failure.

"Some people ran out of their homes and buildings while some others jumped out of their windows as the quake triggered panic," a Gangtok resident, Karma Pradhan, recounted.


Image: People pour on to the streets after the quake

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6.8 quake leaves Sikkim devastated, Nepal hit

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In neighbouring Assam one woman was injured in Dhubri district on Assam-Bengal border, buildings developed cracks in various parts of the state and electric poles fell.

Official sources in Guwahati the woman was injured when a wall of her house collapsed.

As electric polls fell short-circuits were reported and mobile and land telephone services were disrupted across the state. The quake was also felt in Tripura.

In the national capital, the tremor was felt in certain parts -- the second such experience within a fortnight after Delhiites were jolted around midnight on September 7.


Image: Members of the Nepalese army clear debris after the quake
Photographs: Reuters
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6.8 quake leaves Sikkim devastated, Nepal hit

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Delhi's suburb Gurgaon and some other parts of the National Capital Region (NCR) experienced very mild tremor. The quake was also felt in various parts of Bihar, a Patna report said.

A report from Darbhanga district in north Bihar said the quake was felt there too. The tremor was also felt in Madhubani, Samastipur, Nawada, Munger and other districts.

Neighbouring Jharkhand also felt the shock, according to a Ranchi report. "We saw computers, chairs and tables rattling in our office," said Manu Singh and Binod Singh, who were among those who rushed out in the open.

In the north, besides the national capital, the tremors were felt in Jaipur and nearby areas of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Panic gripped people in Lucknow and some other places in Uttar Pradesh where the quake was also felt. The tremors were felt in Mau, Azamgarh, Deoria, Ballia and other towns.

The earthquake was also experienced in parts of Haryana and Chandigarh where the intensity was mild. A Bhopal report said reports of tremors were received from Gwalior, Bhopal, Hoshangabad and other parts of Madhya Pradesh.


Image: The quake claimed 5 lives in Nepal
Photographs: Reuters
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6.8 quake leaves Sikkim devastated, Nepal hit

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The quake claimed five lives in Nepal. Three people were killed when a high brick wall of the British Embassy in the Kathmandu collapsed due to earthquake.

A man and his daughter and another pedestrian died after the wall of the Embassy at Lainchaur collapsed on them, according to sources at the Sorhakhutte Police Station.

Another person, who sustained injury in the incident has been taken to the Teaching Hospital here. Two more people killed in Dsaran municipality in eastern Nepal which was close to the epicentre of the quake.

At least 27 people in the capital were injured when they panicked and ran outside after the quake.

The Indian Embassy premises which is adjoining to the British Embassy compound did not suffer any damage, according to a mission spokesperson.

There was continuous rain in Kathmandu during the tremor and the foundation of the wall might have been weakened due to the rain and finally collapsed during the tremor, eyewitnesses said.


Image: Staff from the British Embassy stand on the top of a wall surrounding the British Embassy that collapsed during the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Kathmandu
Photographs: Reuters
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