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Total toll 92; 53 in Sikkim,govt says may be higher

More than 3,000 people have been rescued in Sikkim since Sunday’s earthquake,which has so far killed 92 people including 53 in the state

Written by Press Trust Of India | Mangan |
September 21, 2011 2:44:22 am

More than 3,000 people have been rescued in Sikkim since Sunday’s earthquake,which has so far killed 92 people including 53 in the state. The toll outside Sikkim comprises 12 in West Bengal,nine in Bihar,11 in Nepal and seven in Tibet.

Union Home Secretary R K Singh said the number of casualties may turn out to be higher when relief workers reach far-flung villages in Sikkim. Amid landslides,roadblocks and limited landing options,access has proved a problem so far.

DGP Jasbeer Singh said information about several places in North Sikkim was still sketchy. “We are getting a very sketchy picture about Chungthang,Lachung and Lachen. The casualty figure is likely to increase after we get access to these areas,” he said. “The biggest challenge now is to get the rescue teams to the worst-affected areas,” agreed state Information Minister C B Karki.

Rescue and relief operations picked up to an extent after the weather lifted in the afternoon. Using helicopters,heavy lift transport aircraft and infantry troops,defence forces rescued more than 3,000 people and intensified efforts to extricate people trapped under the debris of collapsed structures. Teams of the Army,the Air Force and the National Disaster Relief Force are at work.

In quake-hit areas in and around Mangan,many people remained scared to enter their houses which have developed cracks,tilted perilously or partially collapsed. “If there is another tremor,my house will collapse. So we are waiting out in the open,” said Dengji Sherpa,74,surrounded by his family and villagers in Lachan valley.

Sikkim’s toll of 53 so far includes 36 in the North district,12 in the East,four in the West and one in the South,a relief control room official said in Gangtok.

A bus carrying 22 people,which went missing in North Sikkim,is yet to be traced. A spokesman of the 17 Mountain Division said the bus could be anywhere in a radius of 10 and 15 km between the quake epicentre of Mangan and Chungthang.

Power and telephone lines have been restored in most of Gangtok. But the fringe areas of the town are still without power and are cut off.

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