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Dozens die in powerful earthquake

Move victims likely after tremor hits northeast India, Nepal and Tibet

  • By Julian S. Das, Kolkata
  • India
  • September 19, 2011
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Dozens of people were believed killed yesterday after a powerful earthquake rocked northeastern India, Nepal and Tibet.

The epicenter of the magnitude 6.8 quake was in India’s Sikkim state, where at least 18 people were killed.

It was also strongly felt in West Bengal state, damaging many buildings.

Sikkim comes under Darjeeling diocese, the diocesan public relations officer Father Alexander Gurung said today, expressing fears the toll could rise and that rain and landslides were hampering rescue operations.

One landslide damaged St Theresa’s School run by Carmelite nuns in Namchi, he added.

According to Father Gurung, a Pentecostal pastor of the Believer’s Church in Mangan in Sikkim state was killed and his church destroyed, but there was no official confirmation of the death, according to Jesuit Father Francis George Arukakkal, who teaches at Loyola College of Education in Namchi.

Local media reports in West Bengal said at least six people had died in the hill stations of Kalimpong and the plains of Jalpaiguri, while buildings were damaged in Kolkata.

In Nepal, three people were killed when the wall of the British embassy in Kathmandu collapsed on top of them, while in the east of the country, two people died in Dharan, according to the Himalayan Times newspaper, and one was killed Taplejung.

Officials in both India and Nepal say the death toll is likely to rise as rescue teams reach more remote areas, some of which have been cut off by landslides.

Meanwhile, in Tibet, five people were killed according to the official Xinhua News Agency, who said that relief operations were already underway.

Related links:

Caritas India rushes relief aid to earthquake victims in eastern India
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