GANGTOK (Sikkim, India) Sept 19 (Bernama) -- At least 23 people died and over 100 hundred were injured in India's north-eastern state of Sikkim after a powerful earthquake left a trail of devastation in the Himalayan state, making relief work difficult due to landslides and road blockages, Press Trust of India quoted officials as saying on Monday.
Another eight persons, who were travelling in a bus of the Teesta Urja Ltd. Co. in the north district, are presumed to be dead after their vehicle got stuck under the debris, Maj. Gen. S L Narasimhan of GOC 17 Mountain Division told reporters here.
The Army has launched 'Operation Madad' in the state deploying 2,500 troops and 84 columns, he said.
"Around 44 columns are working in Sikkim, another 15 in the east district of the state. We are also sending teams to Darjeeling and Kalimpong," he said.
The west and south districts remain inaccessible to the Army and no relief work has reached these areas.
"However, the local administration are on to relief work on their own. The Army's local commanders have also been alerted," Narasimhan said.
The casualties were mostly in the north district and in towns and villages like Rangpo, Dikchu, Singtam and Chungthang located along the Teesta river, officials in the district control room said.
A group of 14 tourists were rescued by the Army from north Sikkim on Sunday night, he said, adding they have been admitted to Chungthang Army Hospital.
Around 300 rescue workers from the National Disaster Response Force are stuck at Bagdogra airport as helicopter services to Gangtok were suspended due to inclement weather.