Powerful earthquake rocks north-east India and beyond

Publié: 4 janvier 2016 15:36 CET

By N K Singh, Indian Red Cross Society, and Rosemarie North, IFRC

A powerful magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocked remote north-eastern regions of India before dawn today (4 January).

The quake, which was also felt in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, killed at least eight people and injured more than 200.

The earthquake struck at 4:35am while most people were sleeping. Frightened people rushed into the streets in the darkness. Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers in India and Bangladesh, in coordination with public authorities, helped evacuate injured people from damaged buildings and provided first aid. In the aftermath, assessments are being made to ensure the correct assistance is given.

Dr Y Mohen Singh, the secretary of the Manipur state branch of the Indian Red Cross Society in Imphal, close to the epicentre, helped evacuate injured people from a market where five or six buildings were damaged.

“People are understandably panicky,” said Dr Singh, whose team is now giving people advice on staying safe. “Unfortunately many people were injured by falling debris so we recommend staying away from buildings in case there are aftershocks. We are also advising people not to stay in their own houses if the houses are badly damaged.”

Indian Red Cross Society Joint Secretary Dr Veer Bhushan said headquarters in New Delhi will send tents and kitchen sets to Manipur, and is ready to send other supplies and disaster experts depending on assessments.

“The earthquake struck in a hilly location so we expect it will take a few days to get a full picture of the damage. Three people are also reported dead in Assam,” he said.

The earthquake was felt in Dhaka and other parts of Bangladesh, where two deaths and more than 150 injuries have been reported. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society staff and volunteers provided first aid, assessed damage in branches and stayed in communication with emergency services.

At this stage no international assistance has been requested.