6.7 magnitude quake epicentred at Manipur’s Tamenglong shakes NE, eastern India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, leaves trail of destruction; Over 14 killed
Our Bureau & Agencies
Imphal/Guwahati, Jan 4: An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale jolted Northeastern states and West Bengal early on Monday, killing eight people in Manipur and injuring more than 100 across the region.
Five deaths were also reported from Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital.
Four of the victims in Manipur are women, Inspector General of Police Clay Khongsai told IANS.
Manipur Home Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei said eight people were killed and 59 injured in the State.
"Imphal bore the worst brunt as several buildings collapsed and vehicles damaged. There are reports of damage in nine districts. However, the damage was minimum in Tamenglong, the epicenter of the quake, where only four people were injured," Gaikhangam said.
Rescuers worked furiously to rescue those trapped under mounds of debris.
The toll might go up as information was expected from interior areas, an officer said in Imphal.
The quake had its epicentre in Manipur's Tamenglong district and occurred at 4.35 a.m., spping power supply across the State.
It also shook Assam, Aruchal Pradesh, Meghalaya, galand, Mizoram, Tripura and West Bengal. It's effect was felt in adjoining Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
Imphal later felt an aftershock measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale.
Prime Minister rendra Modi spoke to Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh over phone.
In Guwahati, Home Minister Rajth Singh said all central assistance would be extended to the NE states.
Across Assam, several persons suffered injuries while some buildings developed cracks due to the temblor. Most of the injuries were caused when people tried to rush out of their homes.
In Guwahati, one Niranjan Das of Pandu Cabin in Maligaon died after he fell from the bed while trying to run out of his home. He was a high blood pressure patient, his family said. Around 26 persons in the city were injured in the quake aftermath.
Assam State Disaster Magement Authority (ASDMA) CEO P.K. Tiwary said: "There are reports pouring in from different parts of the State about minor damage to buildings and houses. We are trying to verify the reports." He said there was no major damage or any casualty in Assam.
An evening report from the ASDMA said there were reports of cracks in buildings in several districts, including Bongaigaon, Cachar, Chirang, Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Lakhimpur, Morigaon, gaon and Sivasagar.
In Cachar, 40 persons were injured, the ASDMA said. "Cracks have occurred at Office Quarters at SP Road, ADC's chamber in Unyan Bhawan and at the Fire & Emergency Service Station. Several mud houses were also affected at Dudpatil, Didarkush and at Lakhipur sub division," the ASDMA said, quoting the Cachar administration's assessment.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi held a high level meeting with top officials to review the situation in the aftermath of the earthquake and underscored the need to create mass awareness among the people so that they respond properly in case of any major tremor.
Later, the Chief Minister paid a visit to the Gauhati Medical College & Hospital where the quake victims are undergoing treatment.
Prime Minister rendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajth Singh called up Chief Minister Gogoi in the morning and took stock of the situation in the wake of the tremor.
The earthquake jolted the northern parts of West Bengal, particularly the districts of Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, leaving at least a dozen people injured.
Eight persons were hospitalised in Siliguri and four in Jalpaiguri.
In Bangladesh capital Dhaka, five persons were killed and about 100 injured, bdnews24 reported. Many persons rushed out of their homes in panic, resulting in much confusion.
Meanwhile in New Delhi, the Union Home ministry said the tiol Disaster Magement Authority (NDMA) is coorditing with Northeastern states for rescue and relief operations.
"The NDMA has begun coorditing with the state governments, ministries of Home Affairs, Defence, Telecom, tiol Disaster Response Force, and government departments and agencies," a statement said.
Three NDRF teams consisting of 118 rescuers along with six dogs, medical staff, communication equipments, mountaineering equipments, search and cutting equipments have been air lifted for search and rescue operation to Manipur and Assam.
Two teams have been deployed at Imphal and one team in Silchar.
India's Northeast is considered the sixth major earthquake-prone belt in the world. In September 2011, Sikkim suffered heavy damage following a quake.