Imphal, Jan.4 (ANI): Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Monday asserted that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team and central and state government forces are working together in the relief-rescue operation in earthquake-hit areas of the northeast.
“The Principal Secretary (Home) has briefed me that the damage could be more.there is likely to be more casualties. Reports from other areas are also reaching. I am going to meet the CM and get an official briefing. The PM has sent me. After the assessment, our NDRF team, central forces and state government forces are working together,” Rijiju told ANI here.
“Once the assessment is done, I will come back on this. We will decide what necessary, urgent step is to be taken. State government is doing their job and we are putting additional forces from our side,” he added.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also assured that the Centre will extend all possible help to the affected states.
The Home Minister briefed Prime Minister Modi over phone about the situation and the steps taken for rescue and relief.
In a series of tweets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “NDRF team has been instructed to move from Guwahati to the areas affected by the earthquake.”
Meanwhile, Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd.) V.K. Singh condoled the loss of lives following the devastating earthquake.
“My heartfelt condolences to the families that have been affected by the devastating #earthquake in the #NorthEastern part of India,” Singh said on Twitter.
At least seven persons were killed and over 100 others injured after a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the India-Myanmar border at around 4: 30 a.m., causing damage to many buildings and spreading panic among the people.
Seismology Scientist, P.R. Vaid, said that the earthquake was 17 kilometers deep and moderate damage was expected within 100 kilometers of the epicenter.
“Today morning an earthquake struck Manipur at 4:35 am. According to our national network, the earthquake measured 6.7 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was at the Manipur-Assam border, which is 30-35 kilometer north-west of Imphal,” said Vaid.
Vaid added that the entire northeastern region was a sensitive area and fell under Seismic Zone 5- the zone with highest seismicity.
Portions of walls, staircase and roofs in some buildings collapsed in Imphal. People rushed out of their homes and crowded in the streets and on the roads.
Doctors were seen attending to injured, including children.
Similar scenes were witnessed in Siliguri town of West Bengal. People braved cold on the streets and refused to return to their homes fearing aftershocks.
“Everybody has come out in the open. Everybody has two to three storey houses here and everybody is scared now,” said Babu Lal, a resident.
Help poured in from all sides as locals took to clearing debris and civil society volunteers came forward to help the doctors treat the injured.
“I was at home when the earthquake struck and soon after I came here to help with treating the injured,” said Tutul Longdeb, a volunteering paramedic. (ANI)