September 19, 2011 – A Rare 6.8 Earthquake Struck India: Echoing the chaos west of the epicenter, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a rare 6.8M EQ struck India on Sunday. At a relatively shallow 20 kilometers (12 miles) there was wide-spread damage and deaths, including landslides.
Updated September 19th, with reports from the scene:
Rescue teams have battled landslides and torrential monsoon rains after the 6.8M earthquake (EQ) rocked a vast and remote Himalayan region, killing at least 63 people in India, Nepal and Tibet (see map). The epicentre of Sundays EQ was an isolated area, located on the border between India (Sikkim state) and Nepal. There were fears, on Monday, that the toll could rise as reports filtered in from distant towns and villages. The heavy rains and low clouds grounded helicopters. Additionally, Indian relief and rescue teams, trying to access the Sikkim state capital Gangtok, were blocked by landslides on the only viable road, Disaster Response Force spokesman Surendra Ahlawat said on Monday. “The conditions are terrible but road crews are doing their best.”
More than 5,000 army troops were deployed in the area to try to
restore overland links with Gangtok and further north towards the nearby
epicentre. “The biggest challenge now is to get the rescue teams to the affected areas,” said Sikkim Information Minister C.B. Karki. The death toll in the state stood at 35, with five people killed in Gangtok and the others dying in building collapses and landslides in outlying areas, including two soldiers on road-clearing duty. “There is a good chance the toll could rise as
rescue teams begin to access the more remote areas,” said G. Anandan, chief of the central emergency control room in Gangtok. Tremors were felt more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) away in New Delhi to the west and in Bangladesh to the east. In Nepal, police said a motorcyclist and his eight-year-old daughter were among three killed when a wall crumbled at the British embassy compound in Kathmandu, 270 kilometers (168 miles) west of the epicentre.
The quake was 43 miles north-west of Gangtok, Sikkim, India; 74 miles NNW of Shiliguri, West Bengal, India; 83 miles east of Namche Bawzar, Nepal; and 103 miles west of Thimphu, Bhutan (see map).
The tremor hit at 6:11PM at the epicenter; 8:41AM in NY, 7:41AM in Chicago, 6:41AM in Denver and 6:41AM in LA.
The Master of Disaster