Govt starts air dropping food packets in quake-hit Sikkim

Sikkim Earthquake
New Delhi, Sept 19: Government today started air dropping of food to earthquake-affected people in Sikkim amidst fears that some people may still be trapped under the debris.

Two medical teams with doctors and paramedics reached worst affected Mangan and Sangthan with the help of helicopters and Border Roads Organisation has been able to reopen the Himalayan state's life line-the National Highway 31-A, Union Home Secretary R K Singh told reporters here.

"We have started air dropping of food packets from Siliguri (West Bengal). Purnia in Bihar also identified as back up for food dropping. The West Bengal government has been told to provide all help to the Sikkim government," he said at a press conference here.

The Home Secretary said ten bodies of employees of Teesta Hydro Electric Project were recovered from the debris in Singtam.

Singh said nine helicopters were engaged in carrying out rescue and relief operations -- mostly in worst-hit North district -- despite poor weather and one team of doctors reached Mangan and another Singtam through helicopters.

Asked whether there was a possibility of death toll going up, the Home Secretary said nothing can be ruled out as people may still be trapped under the debris of collapsed houses since rescue teams have not been able to reach all villages.

"So we can not really rule out right now whether any more person is dead. But since some time has already elapsed, I think the possibility of toll increasing is thin but you can''t say about a hilly area, you can''t say about an area which has far flung villages," he said.


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