Quake toll mounts to 92; 3,000 people rescued in Sikkim

Quake toll mounts to 92; 3,000 people rescued in Sikkim

Of the 53, 36 people died in the districts of North Sikkim, 12 in East Sikkim, four in West Sikkim and one in South Sikkim, a Relief Control Room official said in Gangtok.

The National Highway 31-A from Mangan to Gangtok, 65 km from here, was closed due to blockades caused by heavy landslides but an alternative road was reopened to help rescue teams reach the worst-affected areas.

A PTI correspondent who went around some of the quake-hit areas in and around Mangan found people in a state of shock, many afraid to enter their houses which have either 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 74-year-old Dengji Sherpa surrounded by his family and villagers at Lachan.

Some others were seen trying to retrieve household goods from the debris.

The toll in Sunday's 6.8 magnitude strong earthquake has mounted to 92. Besides 53 in Sikkim, the toll has gone up to 12 in West Bengal, nine in Bihar and 11 in Nepal. There was no change in yesterday's figure of seven deaths in Tibet.

As aftershocks continued, people were seen squatting on roadsides, public places and near temples.

Using helicopters, heavy lift transport aircraft and infantry troops, defence forces rescued more than 3000 people in the quake-hit areas of Sikkim and intensified efforts  to extricate people trapped under the debris of collapsed structures.

IAF has airlifted more than 500 troops there, including the medical and engineering teams and is conducting sorties of heavy lift transport aircraft and choppers from Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Bagdogra to ferry troops and ensure supply of medicines and food.

"There are eight to 13 helicopters which have been pressed into service in conjunction with the Air Force. 35 heavy engineering plant equipments have been deployed to restore roads and communication lines," Deputy Director General of Military Operations Brigadier Ranbir Singh said in New Delhi.

Rescue efforts covering 62 villages and 20 medical centers have been set wherein over 370 people have been treated and 8 relief centers have been established where over 2700 people have been provided shelter.

On rescue efforts in Mangan, epicenter of the quake, he said, "281 troops have reached Mangan, including four medical and two engineering teams. A relief camp has been established there and communication teams are working to establish telephone lines."
20 medical centers have been set up in the quake-affected areas in Sikkim and 11 cook houses to provide relief.

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