Very strong damaging earthquake in the Nepal / Sikkim (India) border area + updates

Also written by Szombath Balazs and Ashish Khanal (Nepal)

Earthquake overview : A magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit the Himalayan states Nepal and Sikkim (India) 12:40:48 UT (6:11 PM at epicenter). The depth of the hypocenter was at 20.7 km. The earthquake has caused over 100 victims so far and much damage in India, Nepal and Tibet (China). It was also well felt in Bangladesh and some damage has been reported from Bhutan.

"I have Felt it" Reports --> see below + Let us know how you have felt this earthquake
To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).

Read also: “I Have Felt It” reports
Read also: Understanding the very strong damaging Nepal/Sikkim earthquake
Read also: Video selection showing the many faces of this cruel earthquake
Read also: Nepal / Sikkim experiences – 3 countries, 3 different stories
Read also: SEEDS Sikkim Early Recovery Plan
Read also: 20 minutes news compilation video
Read also: The most impressive Image series of the Nepal / Sikkim Himalaya earthquake so far

We are updating this page very often, so please keep it open or come back often

Image courtesy The Himalyan, Nepal

Update October 2
- Nathu La Pass, one of the most important trading links between China and India, has been reopened for traffic. "We are continuously working with the rescue teams from the day of the earthquake. The major problem that was faced was continuous fall of boulders from the top. Personnel had to guard the mountains to keep a watch and whenever the boulders fell, rescue personnel had to hide. The rainy and foggy weather made the work even more difficult favorable and it used to rain continuously and the weather was foggy.

Nepal update September 30
- Hundreds of temblor-wreaked families have been staying in sheds or in tents. Spending their days and nights in rain-drenched cowsheds, many quake victims have fallen ill. The rain havoc has brought work to a halt at government offices and caused the closure of schools.

- According to the police Sunday’s earthquake destroyed property worth over Rs 85 million in Solu Khumbu district alone. The District Police Office data revealed that property to the tune of Rs 60 million was damaged when houses crumbled. (Himalayan Times)

- A helicopter carrying relief material for earthquake victims in the remote districts returned from Dhunsha today due to bad weather/poor visibility. A team from the Home Ministry had flown to provide relief to quake victims in Olanchungola and its adjoining areas. Some Dhunsha locals accused the team of providing relief only to those whose houses were completely destroyed. Quake victims in Olanchungola were saddened when the team returned without landing there. Tashi Sherpa, a victim, said, “We spent days expecting relief, only to have our hopes dashed as the relief team returned. (Himalayan Times)

- More than 10 days after the 6.9 earthquake rocked Nepal, people in the country continue to talk about the temblor, have cold feet and suffer from frequent nightmares. Physical damages may have been fairly limited, but judging the psychological impact of the tremor is hard, experts say. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a significant number of people around the country haven’t completely gotten over the quake. (

Sikkim September 30 update
- The Helping Hands Sikkim (HHS), an umbrella organization formed for providing earthquake relief has been working actively in the state by sending relief materials to the earthquake affected areas across state. The organization is sending relief materials every day to the affected with the help of helicopters. The HHS consists of 35 Non Governmental Organizations which includes State, National and International. Speaking to media coordinator Ningku Lachungpa informed that the organization have send a 20 member team to North Sikkim for supporting the rescue operation. The team could not reach some affected areas due to bad weather.

- 90% of the houses in Rinchenpong have been damaged. 40-50% of these are uninhabitable. Almost all the villages in Rinchenpong are facing water crisis due to earthquake. Minister Thakarpa requested the Rural Management and Developing Department (RMDD) to restore work as early as possible to mitigate the water crisis. (isikkim)

Sikkim September 28 update
- The Sikkim authorities have updated the cuasualty statistics from 77 to 60 after scrapping people who were listed more than once and tracing some earlier listed as missing.
A rescue team found the body of a 22 year old man from Baluwa Khani of Gangtok under a collapsed building Tuesday.  They also found the decomposed body of a man who was the chief project adviser of a company implementing the Teesta Urja 1200MW hydroelectric power project in Chungthang.

- The Governor of Sikkim, who toured the earthquake damaged area yesterday, was informed that so far more than 400 persons have been evacuated by air and 7900 persons by road. The good news was that no more casualties have been found in north Sikkim.
- The Sikkim Government has decided to close all schools across Sikkim until October 10. They should restart after the Durga Puja or Dasain vacations. The decision was based on the extensive damage in too many schools. Cracks and wreckage in the school buildings have created havoc among students. There were around 1.18 lakh (118,000) students in the government schools and 24,000 in the 325 private institutions. Nearly 430 government schools have suffered major damage. 54 Of them have totally or partially collapsed.

- The Sikkim Government has disbursed Rs 14.21 crore (142 million Rs) as relief among quake-hit people in Sikkim.
Some roads were still blocked as Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Army Engineers were working for their restoration.

- The India government has asked seismic experts from the Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee (IIT-R) to conduct "earthquake impact studies" at the dam sites of state-owned NHPC Ltd and North Eastern Electric Power Corp. Ltd (Neepco).
The Sikkim earthquake has raised questions on the future of India’s hydropower development as scientists say the likelihood of a much greater earthquake in north India remains.

Nepal September 28 update
As rescue and relief services are under attack for slow and inadequate response to the devastating earthquake, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai today called a meeting of chiefs of security agencies and was informed of the ongoing relief and rescue programs.
The Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Tuesday contributed around $2,314 (approx Rs 182,800 rupees), which he received as allowance for his New York visit, to the Earthquake Relief Fund, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Nepal September 27 update
The inhabitants of Olangchungkhola and Ghunsa ( epicenter area, Nepal)  haven't received any relief yet.
Actual destruction report from that area is not yet received ( till Tuesday morning). The Nepal government has managed the relief distribution from Lelep for that very two areas. Lelep is in one day walking distance from Olangchungkhola and Ghunsa one and half day. Both places are remote areas of Nepal. The main reason that people aren't coming to grant relief amount may be due to the erosion. Due to which the roads are blocked and even bridges are collapsed. Nepal Police and rescue teams are unable to go to these areas.

Continuous rain since Sunday is turning the living conditions of the homeless into a hell in the hilly districts of Panchthar, Taplejung, Ilam, Terhathum and Sankhuwasabha.
Additionally a lot of buildings are unstable (badly damaged) and can eventually collapse with a serious aftershock.
People are now mainly living in sheds.
There are also fears that continuous rains may trigger landslides, forcing them all to leave their birthplace for good.

India - Sikkim  September 27 update
Authorities are saying that part of the slow response is due to the very bad weather making aerial relief operations very difficult.
On Monday helicopters could not fly to the badly damaged and sometimes still inaccessible North Sikkim villages.
Authorities are claiming that any connection in between the earthquake and the Teesta hydro-electric project is untrue.

- 10 teams of NDRF consisting of 419 personnel along with necessary search and rescue equipment are currently deployed in Sikkim. Teams stationed at Lachung and Chungthang area of Sikkim are carrying out rescue and relief operations.  Team at Gangtok and Chungthang recovered one dead body each yesterday.

- A medical team comprising  19 doctors (Surgeon – 4, Orthopedician – 6, Anaesthesian – 5, Neuro-surgeon – 2, and medicine – 2) deployed by the Ministry of Health, Government of India  continues to provide medical help.( 03 doctors continue work in Chungthang, 06 doctors at Distt. Hospital,Mangan and 10 doctors at STNM hospital, Gangtok).

- The Sikkim Government has opened 85  relief camps so far.  2700 and 550 people have been provided shelter in two Army camps and ITBP (Pegong) respectively.

- A  5  psycho-social care experts from NIMHANS are en route to Sikkim. The team is likely to reach  Siliguri Tuesday.

- Approx. 11,000 food packets have been air-dropped northern part of North Sikkim District. A total of 1,500 food packets were airdropped on 25-9-2011.The airdropping of food packets today was held up due to inclement weather.

- A total of 22 sorties were carried out by helicopters on 25-9-2011.

- The following roads have also been opened for traffic: Sevok-Gangtok, Singtam-Rangrang, Rangpo-Rhenock, Rhenock-Kupup-Nathula, Indra Bypass, Chungthang-Lachung-Yumthang-Yumesamdong (Road opened upto 5 Km from Chungthang), Namasa- Dombang, Lachung-Katao-Patala (Road opened upto 18 Km from Lachung)

- Due to heavy continuous rains, landslides occurred in Dzongu.  No casualties has been reported..

- Landlines and Microwave links are normalizing. The present status  of mobile tower/BTS which are functional viz-a-viz the total no. is given as follows : Vodafone (All fault restored), Reliance (52/54), Idea (All fault restored), Aircel (54/55), Airtel (67/69), BSNL (106/122)

- A total of Rs. 14.21 crore has been disbursed as relief by the State Government till date.

India - West Bengal September 27 update
West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan left for Siliguri on Monday to visit the quake-hit areas of Kurseong, Kalimpong and Darjeeling and will meet the people organizing the relief operations in Kalimpong.
A couple of days earlier, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has also toured the quake-hit areas of north Bengal and Sikkim.

China September 27 update
At least seven people in Yadong died in the quake, while 24 were injured. The quake affected more than 13,790 residents and destroyed more than 2,960 houses.

Nepal update September 26
Figures released on 23 September by the NEOC, indicate that the number of fatalities remains at 6 persons, 24 people are severely injured and 160
persons have minor injuries. 16500 persons are reportedly displaced (3500 families - own Earthquake-Report numbers based on the number of destroyed buildings and the demographics from the area). 2322 houses/buildings are completely destroyed and 2780 partially damaged.
81 public buildings (Government infrastructures such as health facilities, community buildings, schools, electricity stations etc) are reported to be destroyed with a further 406 buildings partially damaged.

Most of the schools in eastern Nepal have been damaged. Students are having their classes on the open field. More than 65 schools are damaged in Jhapa only(Eastern Nepal)

China (Tibet) update September 26 (report of September 20 as we haven't published anything on Tibet as yet)
Seven people have died and 136 others have been injured in Tibet
The earthquake had caused hundreds of landslides that disrupted traffic, power and water supplies, as well as telecommunications in Yadong County, which is 40 km away from Sikkim. The road traffic to the county had resumed on the morning of September 19. Dozens of earthquake victims were seen wrapped in cotton quilts and camped on the streets.
Galingang Village was the hardest hit. The 156 houses in the village were all badly damaged, leaving everyone homeless. 355 students were temporarily living in tents.
China seismological agency has located the epicenter just west of the Nepal / Sikkim border (contrary to USGS which located the epicenter in Nepal)

India Update September 26
With the recovery of a body from a building in Gangtok, Sikkim, the death toll in Sikkim increased to 93. Rains and landslides are continuing to hamper the rescue operations.
The northern district of Sikkim (least populated) suffered the highest losses with 74 victims. 14 in the East district, 1 in the South district and 4 in the Western district.
At least 13 villages in the north district (closest to the epicenter) remained inaccessible.
Many roads are still blocked by landslides (watching the 20 minute video from another article we published shows the severe conditions for rescue teams). In another report from the Times of India, army official said that troops have reached almost all villages, but in many villages they found only rubble. It could be due to the residents migrating to nearest road-heads, or other villages, or there could be worse than assessed disaster buried in those villages, he admitted. A lack of serious population registers is responsible for additional confusion. Due to all this, the exact number of killed, injured and homeless people will probably and unfortunately never be known.

Daily News and Analysis India writes : Geologists warn that another earthquake in the region might lead to changes in the region and may even affect the course of Teesta, the major river flowing through this region and part of a giant hydro-electric project which also suffered an number of victims.
Even as the state is yet to recover from the devastating September 18 earthquake, scientists say that more earthquakes in the seismic region are overdue. "Any earthquake particularly in the hilly region which is always considered topographically vulnerable, will experience a morphological and topographical change but the extent of change after this quake cannot be assessed right now.

The Times of India writes : Due to faster melting of the glaciers since the earthquake (...), geologists say the increasing flow of water could threaten the flora and fauna of the Kanchenjunga National Park, the highest national park in India. In the past couple of days, black water has been flowing out of the mountains, and some traditional springs have gone missing. Geologists feel these are warnings of flash floods.

Important update September 23 - 12:14
The information below has been compiled from various sources.

* Based on our own data, which we have been building up from the beginning with confirmed reports from various agencies, the death toll stands at 115 (lower number). Based on the devastation of the area and the people still missing, the death toll will certainly increase further the coming days.


* The Army on Thursday recovered 10 bodies from tunnels in the Teesta Stage III hydro-electric project in north Sikkim, the worst-affected district, taking the number of those killed at the project site to 27. The number of casualties in Sikkim has now increased to 79. Yesterday the company reported that no other bodies were found in the tunnels and that all employees were accounted for (including 17 fatalities from their workforce), but the present information contradicts this earlier information. We are of course not sure whether it could be 10 non-project people which have been found by the army. Confusing reports as the project company did not published a new report on Friday.

* The earthquake ripped apart the landscape in the stretch between Gangtok and Chungthang, causing cracks, landslides and much destruction. Around 80 per cent of the houses at Chungthang have suffered damages with all sorts of cracksPower has been restored in Gangtok and officials say other towns will have full power supply within the next few days. National Highway 55, which connects Bagdogra to Darjeeling and National Highway 31, that links Gangtok to Bagdogra, have been repaired. Rescue workers were able to clear the landslides both from Bagdogra to Gangtok and Gangtok to Mangan by Tuesday evening. In the process, though, two Army people were killed. Over 15,000 houses collapsed.

* While flying over Dzonghu and Lachen in a helicopter, there was no sign of life in the region. Army rescue troops carrying food packets for villagers in two helicopters found only damaged houses, flooded farms, boulders and buried roads but no people in various places, including Lachung and Sakyong. From the helicopter, boulders strewn across farmlands, roads now under mud which had come cascading down slopes to dislodge at least five villages in the Lepcha-dominated area, could be seen.

* 2 Norwegian tourists were rescued from Lachung. Several others were evacuated from Chungthung along with villagers. The army is taking care of 552 quake-hit residents of Chungthang village including staff of the Teesta hydroelectric project where Sunday's strong temblor left 17 of its 28 employees dead (read also above).

Fri Sep 23 2011, 13:39 hrs (local time) Soldiers have reached the last villages cut off by landslides from the earthquake. The first soldiers were airlifted into the nine villages on Thursday carrying food and medicine for the nearly 1,000 residents. More soldiers were able to make their way into the villages by ground after hiking along mountainous paths.

* There is no trace of 120 residents of Bay village in North Sikkim, located between Lachung and Chungthang. No trace as yet of 120 people living in 14 huts at Bay village as the area is totally devastated. There is a lot of debris and the residents are missing.


The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) claimed that 68 percent of India's urban population is in danger due to poorly designed buildings which are vulnerable to earthquakes. “There are 344 towns which fall in the Zone 5 category (high risk category) making them amongst the most damage prone cities in the planet,” said Shashidhar Reddy, vice-chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority. NDMA also revealed that most of the India's buildings are not built to resist earthquakes. “Only three per cent of buildings use concrete while 85 per cent of buildings are using brick and stone with no steel reinforcements”


Relief distribution to earthquake victims in the eastern Nepali districts is continuing very slowly.

E-Kantipur Nepal writes : Teams mobilized to distribute relief among earthquake-hit families in Taplejung have run out of budget. “Even if the relief team was to spend Rs 1,000 per family hit by the disaster, we will still have insufficient budget,” said relief team member. The Natural Disaster Relief and Rescue Committee (NDRRC) had decided to spend Rs 20,000 to 25,000 per VDC.

Nepal Red Cross has run out of relief materials and has asked for additional supplies.

Classes in more than 100 schools have come to a complete halt. The earthquake damaged 152 school buildings in Panchthar. An employee at the District Education Office (DEO) said the primary reason behind the damage of the buildings was the use of substandard construction materials. The damage assessment report suggests that the quake damaged most of the government-funded buildings.

The overall death toll from the quake may still rise with rescue efforts at an early stage in eastern Nepal, where difficult terrain and poor infrastructure has hampered access.
Armed police force and Nepal Army personnel are still working( still  today) to make the way at the Dharan Dhankuta( koshi Highway) which was damaged after the earthquake .


According to a director of Nepal Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), if a quake like the one in 1934 were to strike the Capital, around 60 percent of the buildings would suffer heavy damage. A majority of the buildings that will be destroyed will be the old un-reinforced masonary ones that lack engineering to resist the earthquakes.
More than 40,000 deaths and 95,000 injuries are expected in the Valley if a major quake is to hit, he added. : PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, Home owners should be OBLIGED by government law to improve their houses with earthquake resistant techniques within a very short term. The present quake was a weak reminder of what could come in the future.

Update 22/09 - 16:05 : 40 foreigners visiting Sikkim have been rescued and transported to safer locations. It is unknown how many tourists where present in a 50 km radius from the epicenter. Sikkim is a popular Himalayan tourist country / State.

Update 22/09 - 15:45 : Some Indian media has released unconfirmed reports that a number of workers of the hydroelectric project had been killed by the earthquake. As it was based on unconfirmed data, we have not followed these numbers.
The company in charge for this mega 1,200 MW Teesta III hydroelectric project had released a press report stating that :
- Casualties have occurred at Saffu village and other project locations: Importantly ALL CASUALTIES / INJURIES HAVE BEEN SUSTAINED ONLY ON ROADS due to falling boulders in the landslides caused by the earthquake and aftershocks, and not due to collapse of the tunnel as reported.
- In total, 28 employees of Company and its Contractors deployed at site have been affected due to the earthquake. Out of this, 17 employees have lost their lives, 1 is missing, and 10 were injured.
- No section of the tunnels or project works, at Saffu or at any other location on the site, is flooded or has collapsed.
- None of the personnel are trapped in the tunnels, as has been reported
- All casualties, injured and missing employees of the Company have been fully accounted for, and all other employees are safely housed in various
project locations and temporary camps
- Company officials have also driven through this tunnel several times since 19th September, 2011 from Theng village to Saffu and also to Chungthang for transporting men and materials, and are carrying out relief operations for the local villagers and the employees.

Update 22/09 - 14:00 : Heavy rains have generated fresh landslides in several places blocking the National Highway 31 A.

Update 22/09 - 12:00 : Five more corpses have been found in India's Margan area. This brings the intermediate death toll at 105.

​Budha Gurung wrote this morning in our Facebook page :
Still the people of North Sikkim people's heart filled with fear. every five minutes chopper is flying carrying death bodies and casualties, still 100 or more people are missing. still some parts of Dzongu are yet to get was a horrible movements for us..just pray for the people who were suffered...State government is yet to find supportive measure. State government is late to extend their support.

IMPORTANT SUMMARY 21/09-10:22/12:53 :
We have waited to get some better information on this disaster.

Throughout yesterday, the focus was on getting to towns like Mangan in the epicentral region.

Unfortunately, the scene is one of utter destruction. The Sikkim Chief Minister has said that the economic loss will be not less than 1 Lakh Crore Rupees (22 billion USD).  This seems to be too high compared to the Bhuj disaster of 2001, so we will wait for more reliable estimates.

15000 houses have been destroyed and at least another 100000 damaged.

17 deaths were confirmed killed by landslides on a hydroelectric project. Clearing the landslides has also been treacherous with 2 army jawans killed.

Reports of the death toll passing 130 people have not been confirmed as yet amid scattered reports back from the epicentral region where numerous landslides have occurred. Most of these deaths have occurred in Sikkim (over 90).

The number of deaths in West Bengal (Darjeelling – 8, Jalpaigudi – 1, North West Dinajpur – 3) and Bihar (Nawada – 1, Nalanda – 1, Darbhanga -1, Shivhar -1 and Samastipur -2) are reported to be 12 and 6, respectively.

More than 3000 people have been rescued.

From Tibet (Yadong County), 7 deaths and over 200 injuries are the confirmed numbers to date with 2961 damaged houses with 13793 people in them affected. Some towns have been 100% affected. At least 1000 houses are said to be collapsed.

From Nepal, 9 deaths are still being reported with 89 injuries and 2000 houses damaged/destroyed and it is believed that the Nepalese count increasing to 20 has not been verified. Much damage has been recorded. It is expected that these numbers will unfortunately rise. Structural damage to nearly 2,000 houses has left over 1,213 families displaced (more than 7,278 people).

The total number of injuries is up over 600, with food and shelter for the survivors becoming a major concern. Over 60000 people are presumed homeless.

According to a report from the Bhutan Department of Disaster Management, the earthquake has caused 1 death, injured 16, and damaged about 4,000 houses

From NIRAPAD in Bangladesh, roofs have collapsed, a number of Katcha houses have been destroyed, 1 person has been injured, and numerous walls have collapsed in the Panchagarh and Thakugaorn districts.

Current Summary -

India (83-113 deaths, 300+ injuries, 50000+ homeless) --- (15000 destroyed houses, 100000+ damaged houses) --- $22 billion USD (1 lakh crore rupees) loss estimate by Sikkim Ministry.

Nepal (9 deaths, 89+ injuries, 7200+ homeless) --- (2000 damaged/destroyed houses)

Tibet, China (7 deaths, 200 injuries,  13793 affected)  --- (1000 destroyed, 2000 damaged houses)

Bhutan (1 death, 16 injured) --- (4000 houses damaged)

Bangladesh (1 injured) --- (50+ houses damaged)


Update 20/09-09:22 :

The death toll has risen to 95 - with 68 deaths now reported from India, as further bodies are found.

50 of these deaths have been killed in Sikkim. We unfortunately expect that this will worsen as the rescue teams get through to villages and towns by the epicentre. 12 deaths have occurred in West Bengal and 6 deaths in Bihar.

6000 troops are now helping on the Indian side, with further troops and aid workers in Bhutan, China and Nepal.

The death toll according to some local government personnel in Nepal has increased to 20. This has yet to be verified.

7 deaths have occurred in China.

Update 20/09-07:00 UTC  Thousands of people whom houses have been severely damaged or collapsed in the Himalayan villages spent a miserable night outdoors in the pooring rain.

Al JAZEERA VIDEO showing the kind of damage inflicted

Update 20/09-04:00 : 

​Currently the death toll remains at 74 deaths (58 India, 9 Nepal, 7 Tibet (China)), with over 300 injured (22 Tibet (China), >100 Nepal, >200 India).

Currently, rough estimates of damaged buildings are around 100,000 from officials.

Over 5000 troops are on the ground but numerous landslides and also road collapses and mudslides due to the torrential rain has made rescue very difficult. 

Rescuers are desperately trying to reach Mangan. A town right at the epicentre where the worst is feared. The population in 2001 of the town was around 1250. 

Update 20/09-03:00 : 73 people were reported to be injured in several districts in east of Nepal.

Update 20/09-00:36 : Dozens of landslides are making the work of rescue services extremely difficult. The heavy rain is an additional problem to reach the remote villages.

At least 74 deaths recorded in India, Nepal and China as a result of the quake. Death toll expected to rise.
At least 58 people were killed and hundreds injured in Sikkim, Bengal and Bihar, in addition to nine deaths in Nepal and seven in Tibet.
The toll is likely to rise, say rescuers.
 In Sikkim, 41 people have been killed mostly in Rangpo, Dikchu, Singtam and Chungthang in north Sikkim.
Ten persons have died in Bengal and seven in Bihar.
9 deaths have occurred in Nepal.
7 deaths have occurred in Tibet.
The injury toll is well over 300 and climbing.

IMPORTANT UPDATE 13:17 UTC: The reports of 39 deaths in Sikkim have come to fruition (North District and in towns and villages like Rangpo, Dikchu, Singtam and Chungthang located along the course of Teesta river). It continues to be extremely difficult to move around due to mudslides, landslides, road outages, and torrential rain.

6 deaths have occurred in North Bengal. 7 deaths have occurred in Bihar. 7 deaths in Nepal and 7 deaths in Tibet.

This means that at least 66 people have unfortunately lost their lives.

An "I Have Felt report" which reflects the way people felt the earthquake :
Sun Pharma Sikkim: i

It was a terrifying experience never seen in  my life before.  On 3rd floor of the building and no means of emergency exit. Thousands of boys and girls screaming and wondering here and there.
Read more of these reports here

IMPORTANT UPDATE 12:34 UTC: It does appear that the timing of the event at the end of the monsoon has increased landslide impacts, exacerbated by ongoing heavy rainfall in the area.  The combination of this rainfall and ongoing aftershocks is likely to render the recovery operations very challenging indeed.  Expect the losses to creep upwards during the day as remote areas are slowly accessed. (source : the landslide blog)

Over 5000 troops and 9 choppers have been sent by India, showing the extent of damage. Due to the mountainous nature of Sikkim and the area, it could be days before the death toll stabilises. At present, the death toll stands at between 52 and 57.

Sikkim accounts for 23 deaths alone (most casualties occurred in the North district and the villages along the Teesta River. 6 people have died in North Bengal. In Bihar, 7 people have died. In Darbhanga - 4 deaths, and 1 death from each of Nawada, Nalanda and Bhagalpur districts.

7 deaths have also occurred in Nepal (Three people were killed at Lainchaur in Kathmandu, two in Sunsari district, and one each in Dhankuta and Sankhuwasabha districts in eastern Nepal) and 7 deaths, 22 injuries occurred in Tibet, China.

Reports of 39 deaths from Sikkim have also been reported but will have to be verified.

Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling announced compensation of Rs 500000 for the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those with minor injuries.

Many buildings in and around Gangtok have collapsed and around 85 per cent of structures and houses have developed cracks due to the quake that hit Sikkim and other areas last evening, Indian sources report.

09:28 UTC: According to reports from Union home ministry, there are 16 landslides in a stretch of 10 km in Sikkim. 712 personnel of ITBP are already engaged in rescue and relief operations in the state. The Army has deployed a total of 72 columns including infantry troops and combat engineers, four Dhruv and five Cheetah helicopters. The helicopters will make aerial survey of remote areas to find survivors. 

09:21 UTC: In Gangtok, power was restored this morning. Residents had spent the night outside their houses fearing aftershocks.There are fears that several tourists may still be trapped in Gangtok and the surrounding areas. Gangtok is barely 54 km from the epicenter and several tourists may be spread across the many tourist spots around the capital city. 

7:00 UTC: Death toll rises to 53

  • 26 people in India's Sikkim state were killed and more than 200 were injured
  • 11 people were killed the neighboring Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal and more than 100 injuries
  • 7 deaths confirmed in China and 22 injuries in southern Tibet
  • 9 deaths confirmed in Nepal

6:50 UTC: The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has launched search and rescue operations in Pegong, north Sikkim, an area which was strongly affected by the earthquake. They rescued 15 tourists and 150 villagers in their opretaions. The rescue operations are getting humpered because there is no electricity in the area. The ITBP has also lost two of its buildings. However. no casualties were reported yet from there. The road outside the battalion headquarters has cracked.

06:34 UTC: Nepal - The special rescue team QRT (Quick Response Team) of Nepal is at the epicenter area. People are afraid of aftershocks. 12 persons are reported to be hospitalized in the area.

05:44 UTC: Rain and landslides were blocking rescue efforts of hundreds of workers searching for survivors of earthquake. Authorities say the toll could rise as rescue teams have not been able to reach remote areas. At least two people have died in Bihar, while four deaths have been reported from West Bengal. More than 400 rescue workers trying to reach Sikkim's capital Gangtok  have been cut off by landslides and cracks in the roads. Many towns in Sikkim are experiencing power cuts, while thousands are being sheltered by the government.

05:35 UTC: Taking advantage of the earthquake, prisoners in Jalpaiguri jail from Kolkata (Calcutta), India tried to escape as some of the doors and windows collapsed under the impact of the tremor, prison authorities said. Nearly 1,100 prisoners came out of their cells in the Jalpaiguri Central Correctional Home after the windows and doors of some prison cells collapsed. The jail wardens and guards immediately took control of the situation.

05:19 UTC: 1 more fatality reported in Sunsari, Nepal - Sabitri Devi Mandal.  In capital city, Kathmandu, Nepal 66 people reported to be injured. Now total 8 deaths reported in Nepal, officially, but we are getting news of 9 reports (yet to be confirmed).

04:42 UTC :  One of our readers reported that the earthquake was also well felt in Buthan, another Hilalayan country

04:42 UTC :  More than 20 aftershocks have been registered so far. Most are very weak bot 2 got values from 4.6 band 4.5.

04:04 UTC : 50 houses collapsed in Taplejung leaving 16 people injured. Taplejung is about 50 km from the epicenter.

03:58 UTC - 4 more people reported killed in Nepal
The death toll reached 9 in Nepal.
Ishwori Paudyal of Ghattaghar, Bhaktapur district died while undergoing treatment.
A 6 years old girl Ayesha Ghimire of Mechinagar-10 died by the fear of earthquake.
1 person died in Sankhuwasabha.
1 died in Dhankuta
Our earlier stated death count for Nepal was 5. This brings the intermediate total to 24 people.

03:39 UTC : The earthquakes epicenter is approx. 120 km from Namche Bazar, capital of the Everest region. The tourist season is about to start and we believe that already a lot of them will be

UPDATE 19/09-03:34 UTC
The Army has been called out in Sikkim and the National Disaster Force kept ready for rescue work. Four Indian Air Force planes were dispatched with rescuers and relief equipment.

UPDATE 19/09-03:29 UTC
It was the worst earthquake to hit Sikkim since 1952.  At least 3 houses collapsed in Jorthang in south Sikkim, injuring the residents. Two deaths each were reported in west and east Sikkim and one in north Sikkim. Two persons-Pushpa Agarwal and Dal Bahadur Chhetri-were killed in Kalimpong and nine injured.

UPDATE 19/09-03:10 UTC :
With an epicenter 50 km more to the south, this earthquake would have devastating for many villages.

UPDATE 19/09-02:57 UTC :
We have still no detailed news from the mountain villages located within the 50 km radius from the epicenter. As Ashish reports from Kathmandu, a base camp has been set up in Taplejung to make assessments and organize, rescue and aid if needed

UPDATE 19/09-02:56 UTC :
In Taplejung, the district prison were damaged. In Sankhuwasabha, the earthquake damaged 16 buildings, including the District Police office, the local Rastriya Banijya Bank branch, the district development Committee, Nepal Red Cross and an armed police force branch base camp. Taplejung is the location epicenter area. Taplejung is about 50 km from the epicenter.

UPDATE 19/09-02:54 UTC :
According to the National Seismologic Center (NSC) in Kathmandu, the epicenter of the 6.8 magnitude earthquake was in the border areas of Taplejung( epicenter in Dhunsa, Taplejung, Nepal, below 20 km) Tremors were felt as far as Sikkim state in India. The National Seismological Center said the risk of an immediate big quake has been greatly reduced by 32 subsequent small aftershocks (till 10 pm) and urged the common people to not panic.
“There is always a risk of a big quake if there are no aftershocks but we recorded 32 aftershocks including two of 4.8 magnitude on Richter scale and it has greatly reduced the threat of a bigger quake,” Technical Officer at the center Umesh Prasad Gautam said.

UPDATE 19/09-02:52 UTC :
The Home ministry stated that at least 60 people in Kathmandu were injured while jumping off buildings. In Manthali of ramechhap district, 15 houses were damaged by the tremor.
A police office in Dhanusha was also damaged. Police said  some people were spotted jumping off the second floor of Bishal Bazar at New road and at Maharajgunj.

UPDATE 23:59 UTC :
We truly hope that we get news from the Himalayan villages nearest to the epicenter. The biggest danger will be located in these villages. Most of the casualties we have heard so far are from places at a relatively big distance from the epicenter. We expect news from these remote Himalayan villages within 3 to 24 hours.

UPDATE 23:57 UTC :
Today's earthquake was the strongest in Nepal since 1934.
Traffic in Kathmandu came to a standstill as thousands of terrified residents ran on to the streets. Mobile networks were jammed as anxious people frantically tried to call their loved ones.

20 people have been killed in total.

  • 7 people have been killed in Sikkim.
  • 5 people are reported dead in Nepal.
  • 2 persons were reportedly killed in Nalanda and Darbhanga districts of Bihar, out of which one died in a stampede.
  • 4 persons in total were also reported dead in Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri and Siliguri in West Bengal.
  • Two Army personnel were also killed in the earthquake. 

Spokesperson at Metropolitan Police Division SSP Madhav Kumar Nepal said, 24 persons were injured in the collapses caused by the earthquake in Kathmandu Valley alone. Likewise, two inmates were injured in a stampede at Bhadragol jail in Dillibazaar, Kathmandu, following the tremors. The roof of jail is said to have cracked in the tremor. Government spokesman Shrestha called on all the government bodies and social institutions to immediately collect the details of the damage and loss of lives and take to rescue operations.

A total of 13 people are reported killed currently. Reports of 8 killed in India plus many others injured. Damage is widespread in the epicentral area and it will be days before the true extent of the damage becomes apparent.
5 killed and 44 injured in Nepal. Three persons were killed when a boundary wall of the British Embassy located in the Lainchaur area of the capital collapsed as reported previously. The deceased have been identified as Sajan Shrestha (36), Anisha Shrestha (8), Bir Bahadur Majhi (19). They died while undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital for injuries sustained.
Reports from Dharan in Morang district of eastern Nepal say two persons, Santosh Pariyar (28) and his daughter Kamal (6) died. Their
roof fell on them killing them instantly. 44 injured (32 in Kathmandu Valley and 12 in neighbouring regions to India).

The British embassy in Kathmandu, located in the Lainchaur area close to the Indian embassy, collapsed after the quake, smashing a car and killing three people inside. Over 100 people have been injured. 

​The updated version of the estimate from USGS has changed the hypocenter to 19km depth and Mw6.9. PAGER has also changed the model from 1 fatality to between 10-100 fatalities which is more inline with the data from WAPMERR. The economic estimate has been changed to $100 million USD expected. These are just models and are not reality!

9 people have been killed (4 in India, 5 in Nepal), with more still expected in the coming hours. Severe damage is expected in areas of Nepal adjoining Sikkim. Parts of the wall of the British Embassy in Nepal have collapsed due to the earthquake in Sikkim. Indian and Nepalese support is on the ground attending to the victims. The earthquake has of course has been changed to CATDAT Red.

Damage is being reported from Gangtkok, Shiliguri, Jalpaiguri, Kalimpong and Darjeeling. Extensive damage in northern Sikkim including landslides. Power supply and telecommunications have been very badly hit in Sikkim. Landslides in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Two fatalities being reported according to preliminary information. Buildings have collapsed in Katihar district in Bihar. One person killed in Darjeeling and one fatality in Bhagalpur.

According to preliminary reports, Sandipan Banerjee, an official working with a pharmaceutical company, died in a house collapse at
, according to press.
Another person was killed when the vehicle in which he was travelling was trapped in a mudslide near Bortuk.
Around 25 people were injured when an apartment block collapsed in the town of Rangpo, Prakash Adhikary, a journalist in Gangtok, told IANS
and press.
These are all preliminary, and will need to be verified.

Not much has been reported from Bhutan and Nepal, however there is also potential damage in these countries.

An additional update of felt reports from Gangtok and close regions has reduced the MMI to VI indicating slight damage.
This is good news, but still major damage is expected closer to the epicenter.

UPDATE: 14: 50 UTC:
​​Local authorities confirmed that at least three persons were killed and 7 others injured in the earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal.

UPDATE: 14:35 UTC:-
Thanks to everyone for the felt reports and also to Anup for the updates. Please keep them coming. There have been reports of landslides in areas around Sikkim and Darjeeling. Many casualties in this area from historical earthquakes have been due to mudslides and landslides as a result of an earthquake.
Two buildings collapsed in Katihar and Bihar. Roads are blocked and much damage has occurred at all locations in Sikkim. One child is also said to be injured, but we expect many more casualties.

UPDATE: 14:32 UTC:
Earthquake well felt in every part of Nepal. In Solukhumbu district, there have been 7 people injured in Sankhuwasabha, Nepal while people came running out of their home after the tremor was felt. Ranigunj Durbar of Parsa district in Nepal also had problems due to the tremor.

UPDATE: 14:21 UTC:-
The magnitude has been raised to Mw6.9 by GFZ.

UPDATE: 14:13 UTC:-
Aftershocks of 6.1 and 5.3 have occurred. Regional TV station NewsLive reported that 10 to 12 buildings collapsed in Sikkim's state capital of Gangtok. We expect further damage and fatalities close to the epicentre.

UPDATE: 14:11 UTC:-

Reports say BSNL lines in north Bengal are down cutting off communication links in the region. Power has been disrupted in Darjeeling and other northern parts of West Bengal. In Assam's major city Guwahati, people panicked and ran out on the streets after the quake shook their houses. There were initial reports of minor damage.

UPDATE: 14:07 UTC:-

The first damage reports have come in with Indian reports detailing at least a dozen houses have collapsed in Sikkim alone.

Many houses collapsing may have caused many injured. More damage reports are expected soon.

This earthquake has been labelled CATDAT Orange, and is expected to move up to CATDAT Red soon.

UPDATE: 14:00 UTC:-

Just repeating, that a major earthquake has occurred on the India/Nepal border - Mw6.8. The earthquake occurred on a strike-slip fault from the moment tensor solution.

From GFZ - Mw6.8, 27.7N, 88.17E, 30km depth.

From USGS - Mw6.8, 27.73N, 88.082N, 20.7km depth.

This earthquake has been felt up to 900km away according to some felt reports. The closest felt report from USGS at the moment is 70km away at intensity 6 or 7.

UPDATE: 13:55 UTC:-

Telephone land lines to Gangtok were disconnected and not much information is available from the epicentre as expected at this time. We are still awaiting at this time damage reports.

UPDATE: 13:47 UTC:- 

The capital of Bhutan has received moderate shaking of intensity V. We continue to expect much damage.

UPDATE: 13:44 UTC:- 

Gangtok and Shiliguri have recorded VII intensity values from the did you feel it? system on USGS meaning there is likely damage.

The city of Lucknow recorded shaking for 30 seconds.

UPDATE: 13:39 UTC:- 

Earthquakes in 1973, 1980, 2006 and 2007 have caused damage and fatalities near Sikkim, India in CATDAT.

However, these earthquakes have had magnitudes much lower. The last earthquake in 2007 caused 2 fatalities near where the earthquake occurred today. 


UPDATE: 13:36 UTC:- 

​PAGER is reporting a median 1 fatality from their estimate and a median 1-10 million USD damage.

​WAPMERR is however reporting that it could have between 100-400 fatalities, 200-800 injuries.

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit India 12:40:48 UT (10:48 PM at epicenter)
The depth of the hypocenter was at 20.7 km.
The quake comes just days after an earthquake of 4.2 magnitude hit Haryana's Sonepat district, sending tremors in New Delhi.
We have no information untill now of any damage.

Read more at:








































































































































"I Have Felt It" reports as received by
MMI values (if indicated) after the text (III: Weak shaking, IV Light shaking, V Moderate shaking, VI Strong shaking, VII Very Strong shaking)
Due to the high number of I Have Felt It reports, we had to open a separate page with a big number of testimonies from people who have often been terrified by this earthquake. Click here to be linked to our I Have Felt it  article.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude :6.8
UTC Time : Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 12:40:48 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 06:10:48 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) :20.7 km
Geo-location(s) :  68 km (42 miles) NW of Gangtok, Sikkim, India
                                119 km (73 miles) NNW of Shiliguri, West Bengal, India
                                133 km (83 miles) E of Namche Bazar, Nepal
                                272 km (169 miles) E of KATHMANDU, Nepal

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map of the area showing the kind of terrain the earthquake took place
Historic earthquakes map
Seismic hazard map
Human impact map
GDACS earthquake report

QuakeSOS+ and QuakeSOS free are iPhone applications developed by Armand Vervaeck, the founder of Earthquake Report. The Application simplifies immediate group communication to friends and family members (with your exact GPS location) and is feeding the users with Earthquake Report news. The 0.99 US$ QuakeSOS+ version will support the activities of SOS Earthquakes.

a headlines on twitter
@OnlyQuakeNews : Get all the headlines of our articles + regular updates on ongoing events
@QuakeSOS : news + automatic earthquake notifications of USGS earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in the America's and the Pacific Ocean sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was created for our QuakeSOS and QuakeSOS+ iPhone applications
@ShakingEarth : news + automatic earthquake notifications of EMSC earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in European and Asian / Middle East sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was originally created to stimulate our Facebook account
@QuakeMaps : news with mapping notifications of ALL earthquakes M 3.0 and higher from all over the world via EMSC and USGS. This account was created for our website

I did feel it – Ik heb het gevoeld – Το έκανα αισθάνεται – Yo lo siento – 我的确感到了 – 私はそれを感じていました- Ich habe es gefühlt – Bunu hissediyorum yaptı – لم أشعر أنه


  1. Dipen Giri says

    18th sept. night was very memorable night in life I will never forget this. ek pal ko lagi ta esto lago ki aaja mero antim di rahecha in my life maile atro long earthquake kahile fill gareko thina well ma sikkim ra nepal ko citigen haru ko lagi bhagwan sanga prarthna garne chu...........................By Dipen Giri Banarhat    West Bengal