Quake kills six, injures over 100 in north BengalSeptember 19th, 2011 - 4:21 am ICT by IANS
Kolkata/Siliguri, Sep 19 (IANS) The toll in Sunday’s quake, which had its epicentre in adjoining Sikkim, rose to six with over 100 injured in the northern districts of West Bengal, police said early Monday.
Two people died in Siliguri, one in Kurseong and two in Kalimpong of Darjeeling district, while loss of one life was reported from Malbazar in Jalpaiguri district, police said.
Many buildings developed cracks and the neighbouring Himalayan state of Sikkim was cut off from north Bengal by landslides triggered by the tremors in Kalimpong and Kurseong hill sub-divisions.
Many patients in a nursing home in Siliguri were injured, North Bengal Affairs Minister Gautam Deb said.
The National Highway 31 A, considered the lifeline of Sikkim, was damaged by landslides, cutting off the state’s road link with the outside world.
Doctors in Siliguri hospital said around 40 people have been admitted while 30 others were discharged after first aid.
At least 30 other people were treated in different nursing homes and hospitals of the district, the doctors said.
Power supply was disrupted in areas near Sikkim, like Kalimpong and adjoining Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts. A sub-station was damaged in Siliguri, but the supply was restored late Sunday.
“Most of the areas of north Bengal, including Darjeeling district, were lashed by rains that continued through Sunday night. After the quake, the situation has deteriorated with landslides in Kalimpong and Kurseong,” Deb said.
“The impact was more in Cooch Behar district. Jalpaiguri district has also been hit,” he said shortly after an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale with its epicentre near the Sikkim-Nepal border hit the state Sunday evening.
A fire brigade official said the quake damaged powerlines, disrupted telecommunication networks, caused wall collapses and leakage of gas.
“We received lot of distress calls from the evening. After midnight the calls stopped,” said the official.
An emergency helpline (03322145486) has been started at the director general of police’s control room at the state secretariat, Writers’ Buildings, and another in the city police headquarters in Kolkata.
Weather officials have warned of more landslides in the Darjeeling hills following heavy rains.
“Due to heavy rainfall in Darjeeling hills, there are chances of landslides following the earthquake. There may also be aftershocks,” said G.C. Debnath, director of the Regional Meteorological Centre, Kolkata.
Control rooms have been opened in all the districts.
Panic gripped Kolkata, where Durga Puja shopping was at its peak. Shopping malls were evacuated, people rushed to the streets, and a few superstitious people blew conches to ward off evil spirits.
A crack developed in the police housing complex at Ultadanga in north Kolkata.
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Tags: affairs minister, cooch behar, distress calls, district police, early monday, epicentre, gautam, highway 31, himalayan state, kalimpong, kurseong, landslides, north bengal, richter scale, sikkim, siliguri, telecommunication networks, wall collapses, west bengal police, world doctors