By- Correspondent | Date- September 20, 2011
The death toll due to last Sunday evening’s devastating 6.8-magnitude earthquake has been continuously on the rise. The earthquake which had its epicenter at Nepal – Sikkim border is reported to have left over 70 people dead and hundreds missing as this news is being written.
The otherwise beautify, peaceful and serene Sikkim has been worst affected with more than 40 dead besides huge devastation in roads, buildings and other structures. Even mobile phone towers and power lines have been uprooted, causing massive problems in communication as well as power supply. However the Sikkim Power Corporation was able to restore power connection partially later on Monday. On the other hand, most landline telephone connections in the state were, thankfully, functioning normally.
In neighboring West Bengal, Bihar, Nepal and Tibet, death tools have rose up high as well with 7 deaths each in Bihar, Nepal and Tibet respectively. West Bengal saw a death toll of over 10 so far, as rescue and relief team carried out further operations in search of trapped and missing people.
Thousands of soldiers and paramilitary forces, including 7,500 troops in Sikkim and over 2,000 in West Bengal have joined in the rescue operations amidst heavy rainfall and landslides to the rescue and relief operation in the hilly region. The Army has in fact opened relief camps for over 2,000 people. As many as 9 helicopters are engaged in carrying out rescue and relief operations. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has been carrying out rescue operations as well with 4,000 personnel along with the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and has so far been able to run relief camps for over 400 people.
In Delhi, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced Rs two lakh as ex gratia to next of kin of those killed in the earthquake and Rs one lakh each for those seriously injured. In Gangtok, the Chief Minister has announced an ex gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 for those grievously injured and Rs 25,000 for those with minor injuries.
Mentionable that the quake shook large parts of North and Eastern India, including capital New Delhi as well as all North Eastern states.