Choppers reach Himalaya quake villages

2011-09-19 20:49

Gangtok - Rescue workers dug through mudslides as they struggled on Monday to reach thousands of villagers cut off by a powerful earthquake that killed at least 53 people and damaged more than 100 000 homes in mountainous northeastern India, Nepal and Tibet.

Heavy rains slowed the relief effort and made conditions miserable for many homeless villagers as they prepared to spend the night outside.

Three emergency workers were killed in the frantic rescue effort, Indian Home Secretary RK Singh said.

More than 6 000 army and paramilitary troops were working to clear concrete slabs, bricks and mud to rescue scores of people trapped under houses that collapsed when the 6.9-magnitude quake struck the Himalayan region on Sunday evening.

Nine helicopters dropped food to villages, airlifted a medical team, evacuated the injured and conducted damage assessments, Singh said. Heavy construction equipment was used to clear some of the blocked roads, he said.

"The rescue and relief operations are in full swing though they were hampered... by poor weather," Singh said.

By midday on Monday, workers had managed to clear mudslides from one lane of the main highway leading to the Indian state of Sikkim, where the quake was centred near the Nepal border, Singh said. An initial convoy of 75 paramilitary soldiers started moving toward Mangan, the village closest to the epicentre, but still had not arrived by evening.

At least 32 people died and 100 others were injured in Sikkim, Singh said. At least 10 of them worked for the same hydroelectric project, but it was not immediately clear how they died.

Tibet and Nepal

Seven other people were killed in the neighbouring Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal, Singh said.

China's official Xinhua News Agency reported seven deaths and 24 injuries in Tibet. It said the quake triggered hundreds of landslides that disrupted power and water supplies.

Nepal's government said seven people died there, including two men and a child who were killed when a brick wall toppled outside the British Embassy in the capital, Katmandu. Nearly 70 people were injured, some of them seriously, and were in hospitals across Nepal.

Most of the deaths in India occurred when houses, already weakened from recent monsoon rains, collapsed due to the force of the quake. More than 100 000 homes were damaged in Sikkim state alone, state officials said.

Singh said it was still unclear what the final toll might be.

"There may still be villages where people are trapped under collapsed houses that we have not been able to reach," he said.

TV broadcasters showed footage of buildings buckled, side walks cracked and two major roads collapsed in Gangtok, Sikkim's capital, 68km southeast of the quake's epicentre. Police cordoned off the office of the state's top elected official after the building was severely damaged, police Chief Jasbir Singh said.

In West Bengal state, utility workers toiled to restore power to a large swathe of the state which plunged into darkness after power lines were snapped by the quake.

The region has been hit by major earthquakes in the past, including in 1950 and 1897.

- AP
Read more on:    india  |  tibet  |  nepal  |  earthquakes
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is hard to keep some sort of balance when the natural rhythm has flown out the window. The best thing to do is try not to keep...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.