12:00 AM, September 19, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 19, 2011

6.8 Sikkim quake jolts Bangladesh

Causes widespread panic; no major loss

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Staff Correspondent

EVENING SHOCK: People run out their buildings and gather on the streets as a 6.8 magnitude earthquake sends a wave of panic across the capital and elsewhere in the country yesterday. The photos have been taken on Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue and Green Road.Photo: STAR

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake jolted the country yesterday evening, prompting thousands of panic-stricken people to rush out into the street from their homes.
The quake that was felt for nearly two minutes from 6:40:47pm had its epicentre in Sikkim, India. It was the strongest tremor to have hit the region in the last six decades.
The tremor damaged a number of buildings and structures in parts of the country. However, no casualty was reported.
Met officials in Dhaka said the earthquake's epicentre was nearly 495 kilometres north-west of the capital and the depth of the hypocentre was 20.7km.
"I rushed out into the street from my house when our building started to tremble. I had never experienced anything like that," said Mahmud, a trader at Suvastu shopping mall on Elephant Road.
The mobile-phone network had remained jammed in parts for several minutes after the tremor, as panic-stricken people called their loved ones to enquire about them.
A building in Bogra's Satmatha area tilted slightly as the earthquake hit the town, reports our Bogra Correspondent.
The tremor also damaged at least 20 makeshift houses in Natore.
Thousands of nervous people hurried out of their homes into the street in fear of aftershocks in Rajshahi, Lalmonirhat, Barisal, Brahmanbaria and Chapainawabganj.
Four rental power plants in Tangail, Thakurgaon, Jessore and Syedpur went off for nearly 30 minutes on impact of the quake, said Saiful Hasan Chowdhury, director of public relations department of the Power Development Board.
Nearly 300 miners at Baropukuria coal mine remained trapped for about 20 minutes for power failure caused by the quake. They were rescued after power supply was restored, reports our Dinajpur correspondent.
Prof Mehdi Ahmed Ansary said the capital did not face any widespread damage as the earthquake's epicentre was far away and its hypocentre was 21 km below the surface.
Many buildings would have been damaged in the capital and elsewhere if the tremor had recorded a 7.5 magnitude with a higher depth of its hypocentre, he said.
Giving an example, Mehdi said a 7.5 magnitude tremor jolted the Mexico City in 1985 damaging all high-rises in the city. The earthquake's epicentre was in the sea -- nearly 700 km off the city, he said.
Mehdi said there are lands that had been developed by filling up wetlands. The buildings built there are highly vulnerable to earthquake.

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