GUWAHATI/NEW DELHI :
Seven lesser intensity aftershocks follow
No immediate reports of deaths, 3 people injured as the first quake struck Tezpur
Extensive damage caused to buildings and other structures across Assam
Tremors were also felt in B’desh, Bhutan
A SERIES of earthquakes jolted Assam and most of the North-East on Wednesday, causing extensive damage to buildings and forcing people to scamper out of their homes. There were no immediate reports of deaths, but three people were injured as the first quake of 6.4 magnitude struck Tezpur, the headquarters of Sonitpur district in Assam, at 7.51 am, officials said. The impact was felt in almost the entire North-Eastern region, parts of West Bengal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The first quake was followed in quick succession by lesser intensity tremors of 4.7, 4, and two 3.6 magnitudes at 8.03 am, 8.13 am, 8.25 am and 8.44 am, Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) Deputy Director Sanjay O’neil Shaw said. Another earthquake of 3.2 magnitude hit Assam’s Nagaon district at 10.05 am. A while later, another jolt of 3.4 magnitude hit Tezpur at 10.39 am.
At 12.32 pm, the eighth quake of 2.9 magnitude hit Marigaon. There were reports of extensive damage to buildings and other structures from across Assam, mostly in the central and western towns of Tezpur, Nagaon, Guwahati, Mangaldoi, Dhekiajuli and Morigaon. “We have received reports of three people getting injured in the earthquake. However, there is no death. We are still collecting reports from different districts and assessing the total damage to the properties. It will take some more time,” Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) CEO Gyanendra Tripathi told PTI. Several roads in the region developed wide cracks, affecting traffic. Besides, in many areas fissures were seen in fields with water oozing out, officials said. The National Centre for Seismology (NCS) said, damage to buildings and structures was reported from areas within 100 km radius of the epicentre.
In Guwahati, the Chief Minister’s block at the ‘Janata Bhawan’ complex, the State Secretariat, witnessed some damage, sources said. Dozens of homes, apartment buildings and shopping malls across the State also developed cracks. Many vehicles were damaged after concrete blocks fell on them due to the jolts. “The preliminary analysis shows that the events are located near to Kopili Fault closer to Himalayan Frontal Thrust (HFT),” the NCS said in a report. In Shillong, the tremor woke up people and many ran outside their homes in panic.
Although there was no immediate report of any damage from Meghalaya, the tremor was one of the strongest in the last few years, an official said. The last one of such intensity was in March-April 2016, he said. Strong tremors were also felt across Arunachal Pradesh. A few buildings developed cracks in State capital Itanagar, and the East Kemeng district, officials said. In West Bengal, tremors were felt in Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Coochbehar and parts of Darjeeling district but no major damage was reported, local authorities said. Tremors were also felt in Manipur, including State capital Imphal. The tremors were also felt in large parts of Bangladesh, including capital Dhaka. However, there were no reports of any damage, according to local media reports. Neighbouring Bhutan also reported jolts due to the earthquake, as per reports from Thimphu.