New Delhi | A strong earthquake measuring 7.3 on richter scale epicentred in Nepal today shook several states in North and East India including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, causing panic among people, less than three weeks after the region was hit by a devastating temblor.
There was unconfirmed report of 15 casualities in Bihar, one in UP and 42 across Nepal. The quake measuring 7.3 on richter scale struck at 12:35 PM, some 70 kilometres east of Kathmandu at a depth of 18.5 kilometres, Indian Meteorological Department said, adding three aftershocks of 6.2, 5.4 and 4.8 followed the quake.
Panic-stricken people were seen rushing out of buildings in various areas of Delhi, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. The tremors lasted for around one minute. The Home Ministry said there was also a near simultaneous earthquake epicentred in Afghanistan which measured 6.9 on richter scale.
The April 25 earthquake which measured 7.9 on richter scale had claimed over 8,000 lives in Nepal. Nearly 80 people were also killed in India, mostly in Bihar, due to the temblor. In Kolkata, hundreds of people ran out of their homes and offices into the streets. In Bihar capital Patna, people were seen running away from building into open spaces.
Similar reports were coming from Assam and other eastern states. The tremors were also felt as far as Chennai. The Delhi Secretariat as well as many government buildings were evacuated immediately after the quake. Authorities said there was no immediate report of any major damage.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has directed all senior officials to monitor the situation. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has also sought reports from all District Magistrates about extent of damage in their areas.
Officials in Chennai said mild tremors were felt in several areas in Tamil Nadu including Valasaravakkam, Santhome and parts of Kodambakkam. In Delhi, Metro services were immediately put on restricted mode with speeds being slowed down. Authorities said in many areas, high-rise buildings are being vacated.
The Delhi Secretariat as well as many government buildings were evacuated immediately after the quake. Director General of IMD LS Rathore said aftershocks will continue for weeks or may be months. In a tweet, Kejriwal appealed to people not to panic.
Please do not panic and maintain calm. Earthquake situation is being closely monitored and officials are already in the field, he said. Authorities in various schools across Delhi evacuated students from school buildings. In some schools, students were allowed to go home after the temblor.
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