Sikkim quake toll 78, Chidambaram promises all help (Lead)

September 22nd, 2011 - 2:17 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Gangtok, Sep 22 (IANS) The death toll in the earthquake in Sikkim mounted to 78 even as Home Minister P. Chidambaram Thursday announced Rs.500 million central assistance for the Himalayan state to tide over the crisis.

Chidambaram made the announcement during a meeting with Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling at the Raj Bhavan in capital Gangtok.

The home minister arrived in Gangtok Thursday morning and met the injured at the Manipal Central Referral Hospital in the capital city. More than 300 people have been injured in the quake.

“The home minister announced Rs.500 million central assistance to Sikkim and also assured of all support and help to fight the devastation caused by the earthquake,” said an official at the chief minister’s office.

Chidambaram later made an aerial survey of the worst-affected north Sikkim areas.

A government official said the death toll might increase as rescue workers were unable to reach some interior north Sikkim areas because of landslides.

“The death toll has gone up to 78 with more bodies being recovered from rubble in north Sikkim, while few succumbed to their injuries in hospitals,” the official said.

The overnight death toll was 68.

Heavy rains triggered fresh landslides in several places leading to the main lifeline National Highway 31-A getting blocked.

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