Army personnels participate in a rescue operation in Burtuk, 2 km away from Gangtok town in Sikkim, after a strong earthquake measuring 6.8 on Richter scale shook India, Nepal and Bangladesh, on September 18, 2011. The Indian government has dispatched more than 5,000 army, police and paramilitary troopers and nine choppers in the worst quake-affected areas in northern and eastern Sikkim for rescue and relief operations, said local media reports. More than 20 people were confirmed killed after the 6.8 magnitude quake hit Sikkim Sunday afternoon. (Xinhua/Stringer)
NEW DELHI, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- More than 400 people, including 26 tourists, have been rescued in the northeast Indian state of Sikkim after Sunday`s 6.8 magnitude earthquake, the Indo-Asian News Service reported Monday.
The news service quoted Indian border troopers as saying that 400 villagers and 26 tourists around the Pengong area, which is the worst hit, have been rescued and have been lodged in the headquarters of the border forces, which have sent 700 men to join rescue operation in the Pengong area, which fortunately suffered no casualty.
Landslides have blocked several roads in the area, including National Highway 31-A, the only road link to the hilly northeastern state, although the military men are working hard to clear and re-open it hopefully by Monday night.
Ten teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and a team of doctors were unable to reach quake-affected areas till Monday afternoon due to landslides.
So far at least 23 people were confirmed killed and more than 200 injured in the quake in Sikkim, while 12 people were killed in the neighboring states of West Bengal and Bihar, according to latest official figures.
A Nepalese resident clears debris from his home following an earthquake at Bhaktapur, some 12 kilometres southeast of Kathmandu, on September 19, 2011. At least six people were killed in Nepal as a 6.8-magnitude earthquake with its epicentre in northeast India rocked the region on September 18. (Xinhua/AFP)