At least six people were killed and over 100 injured as a strong 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit India’s Manipur region today, causing damage to buildings and triggering panic.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was 57 kilometers (35 miles) deep, and initially reported that it had struck inside Myanmar. Manipur is also close to India’s border with Bangladesh. Associated Press (AP) reported that the Indian Meteorological Department had put the earthquake at a much shallower depth of 17 kilometers (10 miles).
The intensity of Manipur’s earthquake is “second highest” in nearly 60 years, says Manichandra Sanoujam, the chief of Seismological Observatory of Manipur University. “It was 7.3 in Richter scale in 1957. It was 6.7, last night,” he said. “So far more than 24 aftershocks are recorded,” he added.
“The traditional ‘mother’s market’ building in the centre of Imphal has collapsed partially,” said Koireng Aheibam of Centre for Manipur Studies in Manipur University. At least 20 people are admitted in North East’s main medical college and hospital, the RIMS in Imphal.
National Disaster Response Force teams reached the Northeast early today, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Guwahati as he took stock of the situation. The Home Ministry is actively monitoring the situation after the earthquake in the Northeastern region. NDRF teams, including from Guwahati, have rushed to the affected areas, he said.
According to the Indian Meteorological department, the epicentre was in Tamenglong district, in Manipur and state government officials said the epicentre was at Noney village in Tamenglong around 35 kms from Imphal.
Principal Secretary Suresh Babu told TOI that the government is assessing the situation and providing all help to the victims.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that an NDRF team has been instructed to move from Guwahati to the areas affected by the earthquake. “Spoke to Rajnath ji, who is in Assam, on the situation arising due to the earthquake & asked him to oversee the situation,” PM Modi tweeted.
The Prime Minister’s office also tweeted saying PM Modi is continuously monitoring the situation in the Northeast. “He spoke to Arunachal Pradesh CM Shri Nabam Tuki,” the office tweeted.
Indian Congress President Sonia Gandhi expressed “deep distress” over the loss of lives and the destruction due to the earthquake and asked Chief Ministers in the region to ensure immediate relief and rescue operations.
Another tremor, measuring 3.6, was recorded five hours later.