NEW DELHI: At least 26 people were today killed and over 100 injured as a powerful earthquake that originated in Nepal shook large parts of northern and eastern India, damaging houses and buildings and sparking panic among the people.
In Bihar, which adjoins Nepal, 17 people died and 48 were injured in incidents of wall and roof collapse as the quake measuring measuring 7.9 on Richter scale and the aftershocks sent ripples across the country around noon.
Tremors were felt in almost all states in northern, eastern and northeastern parts of India, including national capital New Delhi, over 1100 kilometres from the Nepalese capital.
Three people were killed in West Bengal in the temblor and at least 69 others including 43 school children were injured. In Uttar Pradesh, at least six persons were killed and over a dozen injured.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the chief ministers of various states and convened a high-level meeting to take stock of the situation. He directed immediate dispatch of relief and rescue teams to earthquake-affected areas of the country as well as Nepal and ordered proper arrangements for evacuating stranded tourists from that country.
Six people died in Bihar’s East Champaran and four in Sitamarhi districts which share borders with Nepal, the epicentre of the quake, special secretary to the disaster management department Anirudh Kumar told .
Darbhanga reported two deaths, while one death each were reported from Supaul, Araria, West Champaran, Sheohar and Saran, he said adding 48 people were injured in quake-related incidents in various parts of the state, which was hit by a devastating storm that claimed 55 lives on Tuesday night.
National Disaster Response Force teams have been rushed to many districts and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is rushing back to Patna from New Delhi.
In West Bengal, where a state-wide civic election is on, theree persons were killed in quake related incidents. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said two persons had died in Darjeeling and one in Jalpaiguri district.
Sixty-nine people were injuerd in Malda district in three places in roof collapse and stampede like situation as people inside buildings tried to rush out, district authorities said.
In Sikkim, the earthquake triggered landlsides in various parts of the mountain state, official sources said. But there was no report of any loss of life so far, they said.
In Uttar Pradesh, three deaths were reported from Barabanki district adjoining the state capital, two were reported from Gorakhpur and one from Sant Kabir Nagar.
A woman and two children were killed when an under-construction wall collapsed in Basantapur village in Mohammadpur Khala area in Barabanki.
In Gorakhpur, two persons, including a two-and-a-half -year-old child, were killed, police said.
An eight-year-old girl was killed when a house collapsed in Purwa village in Mehdawal area in Sant Kabir Nagar.