16 killed as fresh earthquake strikes Bihar
At least 16 people were killed and a large number of houses collapsed in Bihar, a seismically active zone, after two powerful earthquakes rocked neighbouring Nepal on Tuesday afternoon.
Two strong tremors were felt in all parts of Bihar, especially its capital Patna, triggering panic among the people. First tremor felt at 12:36pm while the second came at 1:09pm.
Major damages and deaths were reported from districts namely Darbhanga, Patna, Sitamarhi, Purnia, Siwan and Katihar.
Two persons died around the state capital, while one died in Digha locality, another in Anand Bazaar in Danapur area. Two deaths were reported from Darbhanga district, while one death each reported from Purnia, Katihar, Siwan, Madhepura and Sitamarhi and Supaul district. In Sitamarhi town, one woman died after a wall collapsed on her in Dumra, initial report suggests.
In Patna, panicked by first strong tremor at 12.36pm, people rushed out of their houses and gathered at nearby open spaces.
While people are yet to return home, the second strong tremor was felt at 1:09pm. Panicked by two successive strong tremors, families have started shifting to big open spaces like sprawling Gandhi Maidan, children's Park and Eco Park after locking their houses. Hundreds of families have already put up their camps at Gandhi Maidan and Eco Park.
Soon after the tremors, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar reached his office at the main secretariat here and convened an emergency meeting with ministers and senior officers. He reviewed the situation and gave specific directions to officials of disaster management, home (Police) and health departments — alerts were sent to all the DMs and SPs to maintain peace and order in their areas and keep a vigil on rumour mongers.
Nitish Kumar later ordered the Patna DM to make quick arrangements of tent, lights and drinking waters at all open spaces where families have started shifting.
As per the CM's instructions, leave of all government doctors have been cancelled. NDRF teams have been put on alert. Similalry, jawans of Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB) have been put on alert on Indo-Nepal Border. In the state capital, police were kept on extra alert. Police forces have been deputed around the big open spaces like Gandhi Maidan and Eco Park where people have started shifting out of panic.