September 20th, 2011
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Sikkim quake: Death toll touches 72

sikkim quake Sikkim: The overall death toll in the earthquake mounted to 72, including 41 in Sikkim, nine in West Bengal, eight in Bihar, seven each in Nepal and Tibet as per the recent reports. The death toll is likely to go up as many people were still trapped under debris, said Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh.

The maximum casualties have been in Mangan, Rangpo, Dikchu, Singtam and Chungthang in north Sikkim and in places along the course of the Teesta River. The ITBP personnel recovered bodies of 10 workers of the Teesta Hydel project. Rescue and relief operations are underway. Nine helicopters were engaged in rescue and relief efforts in Sikkim. NH- 31 A the main arterial road connecting Gangtok to Siliguri was restored on Monday afternoon by the Army and the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). An aerial survey of the affected areas was done and efforts were on to reach out to inaccessible villages. Power lines in Sikkim had been restored and landline phones were working. Some mobile networks had been partially restored.

Nearly 5,500 Army personnel and 700 jawans of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) are lending support. Army personnel, including 10 columns of engineers, each comprising 15 to 20 persons, have risen to the occasion and are providing services. Troops stationed in the area has provided shelter to over 1,500 people, including, 1,000 civilians, in Gangtok and 200 civilians in Darjeeling. MI-17 helicopter with medical team and relief equipment also took off from Bagdogra for Gangtok. Two more Cheetah helicopters from Bagdogra carried out aerial survey to assess the damage.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team that landed at Bagdogra (near Siliguri in north Bengal) said, “the first task will be to restore communications links. Till then, the extent of damage will not be known.”

A powerful earthquake hit the Sikkim-Nepal border with a magnitude of 6.8 at 6.10 p.m on September 18, 2011, leaving at least 18 persons dead and more than 100 injured, besides causing extensive damage to buildings and roads. Of the 18 dead, 7 occurred in Sikkim, 4 in West Bengal 2 in Bihar and 5 in Nepal. The epicentre was about 69 km northwest of Gangtok, 119 km north-northwest of Siliguri and 272 km east of Kathmandu. The main quake was followed by three significantly high aftershocks — 5.7 at 6.21 p.m., 5.3 at 6.42 p.m. and 4.6 at 7.24 p.m. Senior officials of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said more aftershocks were likely, considering the magnitude of the quake.

Torrential rain and low clouds hampered movement of air supplies and threatened to trigger more mudslides. Rescuers had to battle heavy rain and clear dozens of landslides to rescue the victims of nature’s wrath.








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