Earthquake hits northeast India and Bangladesh

A powerful earthquake struck northeast India and Bangladesh, killing at least 11 people and injuring nearly 200, with efforts to reach remote areas where people may be trapped hampered by severed power lines and telecommunication links.

The US Geological Survey said the 6.8 magnitude quake was 57 km deep and struck 29km west of Imphal, capital of India’s Manipur state, which borders Burma.

The pre-dawn quake killed six people in India and five in neighbouring Bangladesh, officials said, while shockwaves were felt in the Himalayan nation of Nepal.

The quake struck while many people were asleep, and roofs and staircases of some buildings collapsed in Imphal, a city of about 270,000 people.

“It was like being tossed around in a frying pan,” said Joy Thanglian, a 33-year-old employee of state energy firm Bharat Petroleum.

Police and hospitals in Imphal said the death toll had reached six with 100 people injured, 33 of them seriously.

Rescue workers in Imphal used hand-held drilling machines to clear rubble from the ruins of a six-storey building under construction, the site of the heaviest damage in the city.

“I didn’t feel the tremor, but when I woke up the entire ceiling had collapsed on me,” said R.K. Ewansana, a 21-year-old student, who was on the first floor but survived as the rest of the building collapsed around him.


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