Six killed as quake jolts Manipur, northeast

Imphal/Guwahati, Jan 4 (IANS) An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale jolted the northeastern states and West Bengal early on Monday, killing six people in Manipur and injuring more than 60 across the region.

Five deaths were also reported from Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital.

Four of the five killed in Manipur were women, Inspector General of Police Clay Khongsai told IANS. Rescuers worked furiously to rescue those trapped under mounds of debris.

A statement from the central government put the Manipur toll at six.

Khongsai said several multi-storeyed buildings in Imphal collapsed while many vehicles were damaged.

The toll might go up as information was expected from interior areas, an officer said in Imphal.

The quake had its epicentre in Manipur’s Tamenglong district and occurred at 4.35 a.m., snapping power supply across the state.

It also shook Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and West Bengal. It was also felt in adjoining Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Imphal later felt an aftershock measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale.

Khongsai said the Emma market — the day market for women in Manipur — was badly damaged. “We are not allowing anyone to enter the market to prevent any loss of life.

“Damages to a few buildings, residential units and government offices have been reported, including damage to a six-storey building,” a home ministry statement said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh over phone.

In Guwahati, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said all central assistance would be extended to the northeastern states.

“The prime minister has asked me to coordinate with all the chief ministers.

“Manipur’s chief secretary told me the damage is more in the state. The centre will extend all required assistance to the north-eastern states to deal with the crisis.”

A Guwahati report said at least 20 people suffered minor injuries as some buildings across Assam developed cracks due to the temblor.

Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) CEO P.K. Tiwary said: “There are reports pouring in from different parts of the state about minor damage to buildings and houses. We are trying to verify the reports.”

He said there was no major damage or any casualty in Assam.

The earthquake jolted the northern parts of West Bengal, particularly the districts of Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, leaving at least a dozen people injured.

Eight people were hospitalised in Siliguri and four in Jalpaiguri.

In Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, five people were killed and about 100 injured, bdnews24 reported. Many people rushed out of their homes in the city in panic.

The home ministry said the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was coordinating with northeastern states for rescue and relief.

“The NDMA has begun coordinating with the state governments, ministries of home affairs, defence, telecom, National Disaster Response Force, and government departments and agencies,” a statement said.

India’s northeast is considered the sixth major earthquake-prone belt in the world. In September 2011, Sikkim suffered heavy damage following a quake.

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