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Many fear another quake, stay away from home

Last updated on: September 19, 2011 19:04 IST

Many fear another quake, stay away from home

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Braving cold and pouring rain, frightened residents spent the night outside their homes in the areas rocked by Sunday's quake in Sikkim and West Bengal.

Roads were torn up, buildings cracked, phone towers and electricity posts toppled in the 6.8 magnitude quake. It triggered such a panic that an official said injured people refused to get themselves admitted at Gangtok's STNM Hospital after its walls developed several cracks.

Several tourists from West Bengal were stranded in Gangtok, Namchi and Kumgon in Sikkim, with most of the connecting roads severely damaged, cracked open and blocked due to landslides.


Image: The hands of a resident are seen covered with mud as rescuers search for casualties in the ruins of a quake-damaged house at Lokanthali in Bhaktapur
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters
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Thousands homeless after the earthquake

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Shelters were provided by authorities to the affected people rendered homeless while the Army opened kitchens and served food to nearly 2,000 people in and around Gangtok.

Schools, colleges and government offices were closed in the quake-hit areas today and only a few shops remained open.

People in the hill town of Darjeeling in West Bengal and several towns in Sikkim left the main doors of their homes open, fearing aftershocks.


Image: Residents search for casualties in the ruins of a quake-damaged house at Lokanthali in Bhaktapur
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters
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'It was scary as there was total darkness'

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"We were all ready to take refuge in the open should there be more quakes. It was scary as there was total darkness in the absence of electricity in many areas," said Angshuman Talukdar, a resident of Darjeeling.

In many areas, power returned at around 10.30 pm, but a large number of people preferred to brave the cold and pouring rains instead of returning to their homes.

Talukdar, a resident of an apartment building near the station, said a large number of people preferred to stay in the government school compounds as several homes had developed cracks.


Image: Residents remove a motorbike that was buried in the ruins of a quake-damaged house at Lokanthali in Bhaktapur
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters
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'This region is in a high seismic zone'

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The staircase of his five-storied apartment building has partially collapsed under the impact of the tremor.

"We felt several small earthquakes last evening after the big one but none today. The people are aware that this region is in a high seismic zone and are scared," he said.

Officials said that around 70 per cent of all houses and buildings in Sikkim had been damaged.


Image: A monk looks over a damaged house in Gangtok
Photographs: Reuters
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One lakh buildings damaged

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"Around 1,000 structures have collapsed while a total of one lakh buildings and houses have been damaged," the state government said.

The state secretariat building has also been damaged.

A group of 14 tourists were rescued by the Army from North Sikkim on Sunday night, officials in the district control room in Gangtok said. They have been admitted to the Chungthang Army hospital.


Image: Nepalese police search for casualties in the ruins of a quake-damaged house at Lokanthali in Bhaktapur
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters
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The quake jolted Jharkhand

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The quake, which also jolted Jharkand, left a 70-foot-long crack on the NH-75 in Latehar district, disrupting vehicular traffic.

"The crack came up after the tremor in Latehar district on Sunday evening," Sadar Sub-divisional Officer Rajesh Pathak told newsmen in Latehar.

"The tremor left a 70-foot long and 10-foot deep crater on the road disrupting traffic near Sikni Colliery. Road restoration work is going on," he added.


Image: The debris of a residential building in Lumsey in Gangtok
Photographs: Reuters
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