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NEW DELHI, September 18 (Itar-Tass) — As many as 11 people have been killed by a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 points that occurred in northeast India on Sunday, local media reported.
Six people were killed in the Indian states of Sikkim and Bihar. Another five were killed in the bordering Nepal. In addition, the local authorities of the districts affected by the disaster have reported 30 injured.
The earthquake occurred at 18:10 local time (16:40 MSK) on Sunday. According to seismologists, its epicentre was located in the Himalayan state of Sikkim 68 kilometres from the administrative centre of Gangtok. The seismic focus was at a depth of 20.7 kilometres. Twenty minutes after the main tremor there was a series of aftershocks with magnitudes of 6.1 and 5.3 points.
Serious destructions have been registered in the affected areas.
According to Reuters, the US Geological Survey said on its website the quake was centred 64 km (40 miles) north west of Gangtok, capital of north-eastern state Sikkim. It was 10 km (6.2 miles) deep.
“Cracks have developed in some buildings in Gangtok. Most phone lines are down and there is no electricity now. People have come out on the street,” said Gangtok resident Bobby Dahal. “It is too early to ascertain any damage. We are trying to get in touch with the state government of Sikkim to know if they need any help from us,” Sujata Saunail, joint secretary of he National Disaster Management Authority, told Reuters.
Sikkim is India’s least populous state, located in the Himalayas between Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. The quake was felt all the way to Bangladesh, shaking buildings in the capital and neighbouring areas. Thousands of panic-stricken families in Dhaka ran out of high-rise buildings on to the streets as the ground under their feet shook, according to the agency.
It reported that several earthquakes have hit north and east India this year, but none have caused major damage or injuries. “We do not expect major damage as the quake was moderate despite being strong. But we do expect some aftershocks,” said G. C. Debnath, a director at state-run India Meteorological Department”s Kolkata unit.