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Schools reopen in Sikkim after September 18 earthquake

Gangtok, Tue, 11 Oct 2011 ANI

Gangtok, Oct 11 (ANI): Schools in the state of Sikkim have reopened more than 20 days after the devastating earthquake that shook the north-east states of India, Nepal and Tibet last month.


School teachers said classes are being held in another building, as cracks had developed in the columns and beams of the older building due to the earthquake and feared that it may collapse.


"The top question of students right after the school re-opened was, will it come again, will we again shake? Children were happy smiling, life has to go on, there is always hope amidst the encircling gloom of disaster," said Purbali Dutta, a teacher.


Dutta also added that people in the state may have recovered physically, but they are still traumatized by the destruction caused by the earthquake, meanwhile, students expressed dismay as their schools were damaged and they were not able to study in their own classes.


"We are not able to stay in our classes, we are felling bad. I am in class 5-B, my class has also cracks, so those whose class are cracked they are shifted in different classes," said Rajni, a student.


The earthquake measuring 6.9 on Richter scale had its epicenter in a remote part of Sikkim. Several roads, buildings and houses were severely damaged and hundreds of people were injured due to its impact.


Such was the intensity of the quake that strong tremors were felt in several parts of India, including the Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and national capital, New Delhi.


The woes of the locals were aggravated after the electric supply was disrupted and severely ravaged roads brought the traffic to a virtual standstill and hampered rescue and salvage efforts.


The Indian government has confirmed the deaths of at least 82 people, out of which 65 have been reported from Sikkim alone. Moreover, seven people are believed killed in Nepal while seven more deaths have been reported from Tibet.


Teams from the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), the National Disaster Response Force and other paramilitary outfits were mobilised immediately to undertake rescue and relief operations, in the ravaged areas of Sikkim and West Bengal.


Even days after the earthquake, many areas were out of reach for administrative officials due to difficult geographical terrain and weather conditions.


Several earthquakes have hit north and east India this year, but none have caused major damage or injuries as the one witnessed in the September 18 earthquake.(ANI)


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