Earthquake Kills Dozens in India, Nepal

Sep 19, 2011, 12:37 by R.E. Christian

A 6.9-magnitude Himalayan earthquake killed dozens of people and injured more than 200 in northeastern India, Nepal and Tibet, authorities said.

Relief workers in the entire region mounted a massive rescue effort Monday despite being hampered by rain, landslides and poor infrastructure facilities,

The earthquake struck after 6 p.m. Sunday in India's northeastern Himalayan state of Sikkim, with an epicenter near the state capital of Gangtok at a depth of more than 12 miles.

The quake and aftershocks also struck the Himalayan republic of Nepal to the east and Tibet.

In Sikkim alone, Indian television channels reported the death toll had exceeded 20 by Monday with more than 200 injured and thousands of homes and the mountain roads damaged. Essential services were disrupted.

The total death toll in India and Nepal exceeded 40, the Times of India reported.

In Tibet, the quake had killed at least seven people and injured another 22, caused hundreds of landslides and disruted communications, power and water supplies in Yadong County, which is only 25 miles from Sikkim, China's Xinhua news agency reported

Xinhua said authorities were mobilizing relief workers and bringing in heavy machinery to clear debris from major roads to speed up transport of relief supplies.

The news agency reported many of the quake victims were seen wrapped in cotton quilts as they coped with rain and sleet. Classes in some schools were canceled. Many students had been moved into tents.

Tremors were felt as far as the western Indian state of Maharashtra, the Indian capital New Delhi in the south and in neighboring Bangladesh.

In Sikkim, most of the deaths and injuries occurred in the North District and in towns and villages including Rangpo, Dikchu, Singtam and Chungthang along the Teesta River, the Times of India reported.

In Gangtok, residents were being threatened by continuing aftershocks, the report said.

Relief and rescue operations in Sikkim also were being hampered by rains and landslides as hundreds of workers searched for survivors.

India's Home Ministry said Sikkim had been hit by at least 16 landslides and the state's main highway had been blocked. Sikkim police reported wide cracks on some of the roads.

The Indian military joined in the relief effort, deploying some of its infantry troops and engineers and using several of its helicopters.

"People are still panicky," Pawan Thapa, a Gangtok resident said. "We spent the whole night outside our homes."

Source: UPI