Toll rises to 135; 10,000 food packets airdropped

Rescue teams airlifted 22 stranded engineers and airdropped over 10,000 food packets in the quake-hit districts.

The disaster management control room in Gangtok said 17 bodies were recovered in the district since noon while one was found in the morning.

They said rescue workers reached villages surrounding Dzongu and Chungthang on foot as roads were still blocked by landslides, making the prospect of the toll rising further likely.

Scores of survivors trekked through difficult terrain and inclement weather from Lachung, Lachen and Chungthang reaching Tung, 10 km from Chungthang, one of the worst-hit areas, and recounted how huge boulders hurtled down the hills smashing their homes and leaving many dead and injured.

Over 10,000 food packets have been airdropped in the quake-hit areas of north Sikkim as two major roads connecting the region remained blocked due to landslides after Sunday’s 6.8 magnitude earthquake.

Home Ministry officials today said another 5000 food packets are being sent to Chungthan, Lachung and Lachen.

With 18 more bodies were found under the debris in North Sikkim, the overall death toll has risen to 118 including 92 in the Himalayan state while West Bengal has reported 15 deaths, nine in Bihar, 11 in Nepal, seven in Tibet and one in Bhutan.

The number of dead in Sikkim has climbed to 74 in North District, East [13], West(4) and South (1).

Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling has convened a high-level meeting with top officials to take stock of the situation and work out measures to further intensify relief operations.

More than 100 relief camps have been set up across the state where food supplies and other required materials have reached, Chief Secretary Karma Gyatso told reporters.

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