Nepal / Sikkim Himalaya earthquake - September 30 update

With thanks to Ashish Khanal (Nepal)

9 days after the earthquake we have seen NO damage REPORT from 2 villages in the direct Nepal epicenter area.
Where is the international community to help these countries (ER) with advanced equipment. Why not using drones for peaceful human impact earthquake missions. We know that it is not always easy to operate helicopters in the cloudy Himalayas, but since September 18 (date of the destructive earthquake) not every day was rainy and cloudy. It maybe wise for earthquake sensitive countries to setup task forces to aid each other in case of such disasters.

Read also: Very strong damaging earthquake in the Nepal / Sikkim (India) border area
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

The overview below is compiled from many different sources in all the 5 countries (Tibet, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan)

Image courtesy and copyright

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.