Thursday 22 March 2018

Earthquake hits India's Manipur state

Soldiers inspect a house that collapsed in the earthquake in Imphal, capital of Manipur state (AP)
Soldiers inspect a house that collapsed in the earthquake in Imphal, capital of Manipur state (AP)
A collapsed outer wall of a house in Imphal, capital of Manipur state (AP)

A strong earthquake in India's remote north-east region has killed at least eight people, and injured more than 100.

The death and injuries were caused by falling debris. Manipur state's home minister, G Gaikhangam, said several parts of the state have suffered extensive damage.

He said the state capital of Imphal was hit hard. Authorities are still assessing the situation.

Three people were killed in Imphal and the other five in other parts of the state.

Media reports say five people were killed by the earthquake in neighbouring Bangladesh.

In India, the powerful tremor left large cracks in walls, and a portion of a popular market building collapsed in Imphal. The area is dotted with small houses.

There are few tall buildings in the region, although a newly constructed six-storey building collapsed in Imphal. A bridge also was damaged on the outskirts of the city.

India's Meteorological Department said the epicentre of the quake was in the Tamenglong region of Manipur. It struck before dawn at a depth of 10 miles, not far from the border with Burma.

Police said dozens of homes were slightly damaged in Tamenglong.

No deaths had been reported so far in the area, but four people were injured when a wall collapsed on them.

Shangthon Kamei, a teacher in Tamenglong, said the earthquake rattled buildings.

"It lasted for around one minute. We were sleeping and were woken up by the earthquake," he said.

Telephone and electricity connections were disrupted in some areas.

The epicentre was 20 miles north-west of Imphal.

Nearly 90 members of the National Disaster Response Force, a specialised federal force for natural disasters, have left to check on remote areas, police said.

People panicked and rushed out of their homes in Gauhati, the capital of neighbouring Assam state, as they felt massive shaking at least twice within 60 seconds.

In Imphal, residents said furniture was knocked over and books fell off shelves.

"The ground swayed for almost a minute, jolting people awake in their homes," said one resident, Apem Arthur.

Press Association

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