Earthquake kills 5 in India, 1 in Bangladesh

A magnitude-6.7 earthquake struck north-eastern India on Monday, killing five people in India, one in Bangladesh, and damaging buildings and infrastructure.

The quake hit at 4:35 am (2305 GMT Sunday) about 29 kilometres west of Imphal, the capital of Manipur state, the US Geological Survey said.

"Five deaths have been reported from in and around Imphal due to falling debris. Fortunately, only four injuries have been reported from the epicentre area," senior state official J Suresh Babu said.

Forty-three people were injured and taken to hospital.

The tremors were felt in the entire region, including the neighbouring countries of Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

In Bangladesh, one person was killed in a stampede as inhabitants of an apartment building rushed to leave during the quake, police said.

In Imphal, which has a population of 270,000, people were jolted from their sleep and ran out of their homes in panic.

"Our building started to shake and we just ran for safety. It was the strongest earthquake we have felt in our lives. People here are all jittery," a witness told the Times Now channel.

Police teams said portions of walls, staircases and roofs of some buildings collapsed due to the quake.

According to the Indian Meterological Department, the epicentre of the quake was tracked to the Tamenglong region at a depth of about 17 kilometres.

Two under-construction buildings also collapsed in the city but there was no one in the structures at that time. Some roads and bridges in the region also developed cracks.

Teams from the National Disaster Response Force were directed to move to the affected areas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office said.

Manipur state officials said the impact of the quake was not as bad as initially feared.

"It is very surprising and fortunate that the casualties and damage reported are low. Most of the structures here are low-rise buildings and the epicentre region is also sparsely populated," a relief official said.

North-east India is situated among the most earthquake-prone regions in the world. In April, a massive earthquake hit Nepal, India, China and Bangladesh, killing around 9,000 people.

Last update: Mon, 04/01/2016 - 12:24

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