Monday, 19 September 2011

Earthquake in Sikkim and Nepal - Rinpoche and family are safe.

Village in eastern Nepal where the earthquake has hit hardest.
Following news of an earthquake on the border of Sikkim and Nepal yesterday, Sunday 18th September, we have heard that a number of people have died, including some in Kathmandu, where the British embassy collapsed but there's no news yet from the more remote regions of the hill districts, where roads are precipitous, and the region is prone to mudslides.  
Rinpoche was in Delhi and due to travel to Gangtok today, however he will now travel Nepal instead. 
 He has written from Delhi with news:

Pelling, western Sikkim



" There was a 6.8 earthquake in Sikkim, Nepal and North India which lasted for over 40 seconds the epicentre of which was in Sikkim. The roads to Sikkim are badly damaged. 18 people are so far reported dead and many with injuries. Gangtok is relatively safe and none of my family and friends are affected so far. There were 3 more shocks and people lived outside all night. The extent of damage to life and buildings is not yet known as roads and mobile communication are broken to remote places.
I was going to Gangtok today from Delhi but going to Nepal till roads are open again.
We are all well".

Sankuwashaba, east Nepal



So far it is thought that the most affected area is on the Nepalese side, around Sankuwasabha National  Park region, much of this area of the hills can be accessed only by foot or small plane. Here the villagers live in tiny hamlets on the hillsides in houses of bamboo and earth, 60 km walk from the  10 km length of dirt road that is their lifeline to the outside world.  Many towns in Sikkim including Gangtok are built on vertiginous slopes, with houses built on and against the hillside one on top of another, up to 5 stories high.  At present roads are impassable  from Siliguri to Gangtok, as well as in the outlying areas of Sikkim.  Many hydro-electric dams are being built in Northern Sikkim that supply India with water and electricity. This area is also affected by the earthquake and  there are reported casualties.

There will be further news updates on the Bodhicharya.org news page.



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