Monday, September 19, 2011

Race to rescue quake victims in India, Nepal and Tibet

Rescue efforts are under way across isolated Himalayan regions in India, Nepal and Tibet after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck the area on Sunday.
The epicentre was the northern Indian state of Sikkim, where the Indian government says that at least 35 people have been killed.
But the relief effort there has been hampered by rainfall and landslides. It is feared that the toll could rise.
Several earthquakes hit the region this year, but none caused major damage.

Significant damage

"The situation doesn't look good," an official from the UN's disaster management team in Delhi told the Reuters news agency. "My feeling is the death toll and number of injured are going to increase."
Tremors were felt in the north-eastern Indian states of Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura. They were also felt in regions of India: West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Delhi. Bangladesh and Bhutan also felt the quake.
One person was killed during a stampede as people panicked in a town in the eastern state of Bihar, and other deaths were reported near Darjeeling, in West Bengal.
Latest reports from Nepal say that at least six people have been killed with more than 100 injured. Officials say that significant structural damage has been caused to buildings in the east of the country.
In addition a landslide triggered by the quake has blocked transport along the highway which links the city of Dharan to the town of Dhankuta. Dharan was hit by a devastating quake 28 years ago.
In the capital Kathmandu, three people were killed when a wall at the British embassy collapsed. A budget debate in the country's parliament was suspended for 15 minutes when lawmakers fled the chamber as the entire building shook.
Just over the border in Tibet's Yadong County, just 40km (25 miles) from Sikkim, the earthquake caused hundreds of landslides disrupting traffic, telecommunications, power and water supplies.
Chinese authorities said relief supplies were on the way to the area.

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