Nepal earthquake: Biggest earthquake in 80 years kills nine
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 19, 2011
The nine ft wall fencing the compound of the British Embassy in the Lainchaur area of the capital, close to the Indian Embassy, collapsed. Nine people were killed, while over 100 people had received injuries with hundreds of houses and buildings collapsing.
Biggest earthquake in 80 years in Nepal and in 20 years in the Himalayan Region.
KATHMANDU: After initial panic and chaos, prayers began to be offered in Nepal with the realisation that
the earthquake that hit its eastern region and capital city Kathmandu along with India on Sunday could have wreaked far greater devastation, being the biggest in almost eight decades. Nine people were killed.
As the resilient Himalayan state began to limp back to normal Monday following a trembler measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale, the toll had risen to at least nine with the news of another unconfirmed casualty, while over 100 people had received injuries with hundreds of houses and buildings collapsing.
The cramped capital, full of decrepit houses and little adherence to building regulations, suffered with three people dying in a wall collapse while over 50 were injured trying to jump down from windows and balconies in the panic.
Police said Monday the nine ft wall fencing the compound of the British Embassy in the Lainchaur area of the capital, close to the Indian Embassy, collapsed Sunday evening, soon after the jolt, smashing down on a two-wheeler, a car and a pedestrian.
Sajan Shrestha, a 38-year-old security guard employed by the Danish government’s aid agency Danida was riding past the embassy on his two-wheeler with his teenaged daughter Anisha when the concrete wall fell on them, injuring both severely.
A passerby, Bir Bahadur Majhi, in his late teens, was also fatally injured.
Army and armed police personnel assisted by locals dug out the three from under the debris and rushed them to the Manmohan Memorial Hospital where all three succumbed to their injuries.
Four more people in a passing car were also injured and were receiving medical treatment, police said.
In Dharan town in eastern Sunsari district, a popular recruitment centre for the Indian and British Armies, Santosh Pariyar, in his 30s, a tailor associated with the Nepal Army, and his nephew Bimal Pariyar, 7, died when the roof of their room collapsed.
On Monday morning, more casualties were reported.
A sixth man, Ishwor Gyawali, was killed in Bhaktapur district in Kathmandu valley.
In the east, a 40-year-old woman, Madhu Karki, had been killed in Dhankuta district, and an eighth, a young girl identified as Ayesha Ghimire, had succumbed to injuries in Mechi town close to the Indian border.
The ninth death was reported from Sankhuwasabha district with the victim identified as Pradeep Rai.
The National Seismological Centre said it was the biggest tremor to hit Nepal since 1934 when a quake measuring 8.4 had killed over 8,500 people in the Himalayan state alone besides causing damage in India’s Bihar state.
Officials said Nepal was spared greater havoc this time since the epicentre of the quake was farther away in Sikkim in northeastern India and not in Bihar, the Indian state adjoining Nepal’s boundary.
The probability of yet another immediate jolt was also lessened by nearly three dozen smaller tremors appearing in quick succession after the biggest one.
“I thought I had a bout of dizziness,” said Pramila Majhi, a construction worker who had taken her son to the doctor’s when the quake struck. “The room spun around, the walls tilted. I knew I could not run down to the streets with my sick son. So I simply prayed.”
Hundreds of people rushed out on the streets in the capital with little open space, crying and taking the names of gods as the tremors started. There were scenes of people jumping down from upper stories and sustaining injuries.
In two prisons in the capital – the Central Jail and Dillibazar Jail – some prisoners received broken arms and legs in the ensuing stampede as they tried to run out.
In Thamel, Kathmandu’s tourist area, and the nearby five-star hotels, foreign guests rushed out on the streets and could be persuaded to go back to their rooms only after the alarm subsided.
The chaos was compounded by heavy rains and a temporary power blackout. Telephone lines were hit and the dark roads were filled with the blare of ambulances.
Nepal’s parliament was in session when the quake struck, causing alarmed lawmakers to scream and run out for safety. Chairman Subash Nembang said he was adjourning the house for some time.
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, poised to depart for New York Sunday night to attend the 66th UN General Assembly, called an emergency meeting of the cabinet to discuss rescue and relief measures.
Panic also spread among mountaineers on different expeditions in the Himalayan region and many houses in northern Lukla district, considered the gateway to Mt Everest, had developed cracks.
Gangtok earthquake: Toll risis to 18 in Sikkim quake
The high-intensity quake was followed by two after-shocks and had its epicentre on the Sikkim-Nepal border.
The number of those injured in the earthquake crossed 200 as reports came in here from different areas.
Sikkim has been cut off from the rest of the country with the national highway 31-A blocked in at least eight places following heavy mudslides, said G. Anandan, district magistrate, Sikkim East.
As many as 25 concrete bridges were damaged between Siliguri and Gangtok on the 120 km long national highway 31-A, he said.
The Sikkim secretariat also developed cracks, he added.
6.9 Quake Strikes India, Nepal; More than 30
Indian soldiers, rescue teams and medical personnel raced to a remote corner of northeastern India on Monday after a major earthquake collapsed buildings and caused landslides that buried roads, killing more than 30 people. The quake, which struck Sunday night in the mountainous region near the town of Mangan in Sikkim state, registered 6.9 on the Richter scale and sent tremors as far away as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and China. Several aftershocks followed, further rattling residents.
Because of the remoteness of the region and the disruption of phone service, news about the damage and casualties was slow to filter in. By Monday morning, at least 16 people were reported dead and more than 100 injured in Sikkim, Prem Das, a member of Parliament from the state, told the Indian television channel CNN-IBN. The eastern state of West Bengal also reported six deaths and Bihar state reported three.(See photos from the 6.9 earthquake in India and Nepal.)
In neighboring Nepal, at least seven people were killed, including two men and a child who died when a wall outside the British embassy in Kathmandu collapsed. Members of Nepal’s parliament also reportedly ran out of the assembly building in the capital during a debate on the national budget. And in China, the official Xinhua news agency confirmed that seven people had died in southern Tibet, where several homes collapsed. The death toll was expected to continue to rise.
According to CNN-IBN, the Indian air force has dispatched five of its new C-130J Super Hercules airlifters to the region to assist in the rescue operation. It’s the first time the air force has deployed the planes, which were purchased from the U.S. in 2008 for $1 billion and can conduct low-level airdrops and land in blackout conditions. Around 400 rescue specialists and medical personnel from the National Disaster Response Force were also sent to the area, but they were stuck in West Bengal state Monday because of a massive landslide that had blocked the road. According to media reports, the highway was blocked in some 25 places and engineers were rushing to clear the debris as quickly as possible. Officials say the extent of the damage will only be known after rescue teams can reach the area.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called an emergency meeting of the National Disaster Management Authority, and Sonia Gandhi, president of India’s Congress Party, expressed her “deep concern and anxiety” over the quake and urged authorities to quickly extend help to the affected areas. Local officials said they were mobilizing rescue teams as rapidly as they could. “When the earthquake happened, I, too, felt the tremor. Our departments are on the job, we are gathering information,” Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar state, told reporters. Das, the MP from Sikkim, said the biggest worry was reaching small villages on mountaintops that were completely cut off by the quake. Heavy rains were slowing rescuers too. Television images showed army trucks stopped by downpours in West Bengal, and men, women and children huddled under umbrellas at a makeshift camp in Pegong, north Sikkim.
Though the rugged area is thinly populated, it is popular with tourists. The Press Trust of India news agency reported that police had rescued 15 foreign tourists in northern Sikkim, but it did not give their nationalities. Complicating matters is the fact that power outages were widespread across Sikkim, Bihar and West Bengal states. The cities of Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal were “in total darkness,” the state’s chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, told the Press Trust of India on Sunday.
Sunday’s quake was the biggest in the Himalayan region in 20 years. The deadliest tremors to have struck northeastern India occurred in 1950 and 1897. Each killed more than 1,500 people.
Deadly earthquake rocks India, Nepal and Tibet
Dozens of people have been killed and many more injured after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake shook north-eastern India, Nepal and Tibet.
The epicentre of the earthquake was in India’s mountainous Sikkim state, where at least 18 people were killed.
Rain and landslides are hindering search and rescue operations there and officials in Sikkim fear that the toll could rise further.
Several earthquakes hit the region this year, but none caused major damage.
At least five people were killed in Nepal, police there say, and at least seven died in Tibet, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported. At least six other people were killed in other Indian states.
Officials in all regions say the death toll is likely to rise as rescuers reach the remote mountainous areas struck by the quake.
The quake struck the mountainous north-eastern Indian state of Sikkim at 18:10 (12:40 GMT) on Sunday, according to the US Geological Survey, and was followed by two strong aftershocks.
Telephone lines were knocked out across the state, while power cuts plunged Gangtok, the capital, into darkness just seconds after the quake hit.
Hundreds of people there spent the night on the streets after buildings developed cracks, reports say.
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.
Landslides have blocked the two main highways linking Sikkim with the rest of the country making it difficult for the rescue workers to reach the area, reports say.
Just over the border in Tibet’s Yadong County, just 40km (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.
In Kathmandu, 270km (170 miles) west of the quake’s epicentre, buildings were evacuated and traffic came to a standstill.
Three people died when a wall of the British Embassy collapsed. Those dead included a motorcyclist and his eight-year-old child who were struck as they rode past, police said.
Two others died in Dharan in Sunsari district, including a five-year-old child, according to the the Himalayan Times newspaper.
Lawmakers in parliament hurried out of the building shouting when the quake struck in the middle of a debate on the budget, witnesses said.
From Shirish B Pradhan Kathmandu, Sept 19 (PTI) At least seven people have died in Nepal after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Himalayan region, the strongest trembler to hit the country after the devastating earthquake of 1934.Three persons were crushed to death when a wall of the British embassy compound collapsed in the capital Kathmandu after the quake struck the region last evening.The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, which is adjacent to the British mission, is safe.Two persons were killed in Sunsari district and one each in Dhankuta and Sankhuwasabha districts in eastern Nepal, according to Home Ministry sources.Altogether, 41 people were seriously injured while 68 others sustained minor injuries, said the sources.The epicenter of the earthquake was the border between Taplejung district of Nepal, 300 km east of Kathmandu, and Sikkim and Darjeeling of India, according to National Seismological Department of Nepal.This is the strongest trembler recorded in Nepal after the devastating earthquake of 1934 which killed 15,000 people.The trembler damaged 103 houses mainly in eastern Nepal districts including Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha and Ramechhap districts. A dozen after shock tremors measuring 4 Richter magnitude have been recorded in Nepal Kathmandu.Last evening an emergency meeting was held at Home Ministry which was attended by chiefs of various security agencies to deal with the disaster, said Ekmani Nepal, a senior official at Home Ministry.A central Control Room has been set up in Kathmandu under the Home Minister to monitor the situation and to coordinate works relating to the relief works, he added.