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Many areas in Sikkim yet to get help

The armed forces had rescued more than 3,000 people from quake-ravaged areas of Sikkim, but northern part of the state is still unapproachable with bodies buried in rubble. Pramod Giri reports.Uphill task for rescue teams | In the meantime... | Weather disrupts quake rescue work

india Updated: Sep 21, 2011 01:37 IST
Pramod Giri
Pramod Giri

Debi Prasad Rasaily, 53, had to walk more than 20 km to reach Toong, 10 km from Pegong, the epicentre of Sunday's earthquake, to look for his relatives.

Carrying a picture of his cousin, Namgyel Bhutia (42) was seen asking people whether they had seen the man in the photograph.

Rasaily's relatives are safe. But Bhutia has given up hope his cousin is alive after he was buried under the debris in Safu, a few kilometres ahead of Toong.

It is at Safu that Tashi Lepcha and Sonam Lepcha were buried inside their Maruti 800 when the earthquake struck. In Toong, locals said many people were still buried.

Pasang Tshring, one of the few volunteers who could reach Toong, said: "I saw one body lying near the road since Sunday evening. There are many elsewhere."http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/200911/21-09-11-metro10.jpg

Hundreds of people in North district are looking for their relatives, about whom nothing is known even as the army is airlifting bodies from Chungthang, the only place helicopters can access.

The armed forces had rescued more than 3,000 people from quake-ravaged areas of Sikkim, deputy director general of military operations Brigadier Ranbir Singh said in New Delhi on Tuesday. Rescue efforts are in full swing in 62 villages.

The northern part of Sikkim above Meyong, 8 km from district headquarters Mangan and one of the prominent tourist destinations, is unapproachable with no means of finding out how many are lying on the road with no medical help or government relief till Tuesday evening.

Places such as Chungthang, Lachen and Lachun near the India-China border are running without electricity from the time the earthquake struck and there is no phone connectivity.

KP Purushothaman, director (planning) of Project Swastik of the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF), which maintains the strategic road leading to the China border, said it would take not less than another 48 hours for road connectivity to be restored with affected places like Pegong.

With inputs from New Delhi

Uphill task for rescue teams | In the meantime... | Weather disrupts quake rescue work