Himalayas quake toll nears 100

2011-09-21 10:16

kalahari.com

Mangan - The death toll from the weekend earthquake in the Himalayas neared 100 on Wednesday as officials warned it could rise significantly and helicopters airlifted the injured and stranded.

Sunday's 6.9-magnitude quake struck the border of India's northeast state of Sikkim and Nepal, bringing destruction to towns and villages on both sides as well as in southern Tibet.

From a helipad in Mangan in northern Sikkim, military and private helicopters flew regular sorties, taking food and medical supplies to outlying villages and bringing back injured survivors.

In the state capital, Gangtok, around 70km southeast of the epicentre, government official Sonam Lepcha said provisional figures put the number of dead in Sikkim at 65.

"We fear that more lives have been lost, but it's very difficult to give an exact count because bodies are still being pulled from the debris," Lepcha said.

Road almost inaccessible

Rescue efforts began in earnest on Wednesday, after emergency teams and relief workers spent two days battling damaged roads and landslides to reach the quake's main impact zone.

More than 5 000 troops, including army engineers using explosives, cleared a route to Mangan for trucks carrying medical teams and supplies.

But access to outlying areas which bore the main brunt of the quake's impact remained very difficult and largely limited to helicopters.

Dil Kumar Sukba, a worker in a hydroelectric power project north of Mangan, was airlifted to the main district hospital early Wednesday morning.

"I ran outside the plant when the quake hit, but then my leg got trapped by a falling rock," Sukba told AFP.

"I spent more than 40 hours trapped and waiting for help. I could see so many other people screaming for help but nobody was able to move," he said.

Bodies under boulders

D Ekey, a doctor at the district hospital, said most of the seriously injured had badly crushed limbs and bodies after being caught in rockfalls or building collapses.

Army official Sanjay Vadhera said the priority for the helicopter missions was to bring out the injured and rescue other survivors.

"We have seen bodies lying under boulders, but we aren't bringing them back yet," Vadhera said.

In Mangan, relatives of people living in and around the epicentre gathered in groups, sharing what little information they could glean about the fate of their family members.

Most had heard nothing from their families since the quake hit on Sunday evening.

Stranded tourists

Vadher said more than 40 stranded tourists, including a number of foreigners, had been airlifted to safety. Sikkim's Himalayan trekking trails are a popular adventure tourism destination.

Around a million people visit Sikkim every year and an estimated 60% of the state's tiny population of 500 000 rely on tourism for their livelihood.

In Nepal, eight people were killed and hundreds of homes destroyed or damaged in the country’s east, where rescuers faced the same problems as their Indian counterparts with rains and mudslides blocking routes to the affected areas.

Eighteen other people died in the Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal, while China's official Xinhua news agency said seven people had been killed in southern Tibet, near the border with Sikkim.
- SAPA
Read more on:    india  |  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

 
/Music

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid 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

The spotlight may be on you and you need to perform. This can be overwhelming and you need to stay as focussed and centred as you...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.