At least nine dead as earthquake hits northeast India

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An earthquake measuring 6.7 magnitude has hit northeast India, near its borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, killing at least nine people.

The quake hit at 04:35 local time (23:05 GMT Sunday) about 29km (18 miles) northwest of Imphal, the capital of Manipur state, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The earthquake was originally reported to have measured 6.8 magnitude.
India’s Meteorological Department said it struck at a depth of 17km (about 10 miles).

Strong tremors have been felt across the region.
The tremor cracked walls and a newly-built six-storey building in Imphal collapsed, police said. Other buildings were also reported to have been damaged.

At least six people have been killed in Manipur and more than 30 injured, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
In the neighbouring Bangladesh, three people were reported dead while dozens were being treated in hospital for injuries sustained during the quake.

In Dhaka, panicked residents fled into the streets.

A 23-year-old man died when he suffered a stroke after the quake while two others died of heart attacks, news agency AFP quoted police as saying.
A university student, who jumped from a fourth-floor balcony to escape, was among the critically wounded, the agency added.

There was a complete scene of panic: people fled their homes, shouting.
Several buildings collapsed in Imphal, and many others suffered structural damages.

The worst affected appeared to be the Mother’s Market or the ‘Ima Keithel’ area which is home to lots of buildings, private houses, a hospital and the city’s press club.
Many of them were damaged in the quake and the entire area were cordoned off. A number of buildings there have been evacuated.

Several electricity lines were damaged leaving many areas without power.

At the main regional hospital in Imphal, about 37 people were admitted with injuries.

Deepak Shijagurumayum, a resident of Imphal, told AFP by phone that his house was severely damaged by the quake.
“Almost everyone was asleep when it struck and were thrown out of their beds,” Mr Shijagurumayum said.
“People were crying and praying in the streets and in open spaces. Hundreds remained outdoors for several hours fearing aftershocks.”

Shaking was felt as far away as Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), 600km (370 miles) away. “Many people were seen coming out of their homes in panic,” local resident Rabin Dev told AFP news agency.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he had spoken to the region’s chief ministers and federal Home Minister Rajnath Singh “on the situation arising in the wake of the earthquake”.

Casualties have not yet been reported on the Myanmar side of the border, which is sparsely populated.

The region has a history of powerful earthquakes caused by the northward collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates. They are moving towards each other at a rate of 4-5cm per year.

In 2005, a magnitude 7.6 quake in Pakistan-administered Kashmir left more than 75,000 people dead.

In April 2015, Nepal suffered its worst earthquake on record with 9,000 people killed and about 900,000 homes damaged or destroyed.

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