Saturday, May 19, 2007


GANGTOK, May 18: An earthquake rocked Gangtok and its surrounding areas this evening, sending people rushing out of their houses in panic.

The moderate quake struck around 6: 10 pm this evening and lasted for a while, reminding people of the quake that greeted us on Valentine’s Day on February 14 last year.

Preliminary reports from the Meteorological Department here have indicated that the quake measured 5.7 to 6 on the Richter scale. The quake was felt in Ranka, Ranipool, Singtam and Rangpo. However, the epicenter of the quake has not been ascertained at the time of going to print. Reports of the quake have also come in from Darjeeling and its near-by areas like Mirik.

Panic-stricken residents of Nam Nang rushed out of their houses and came to the roads. Tourists were also seen rushing out of their hotels and running for cover. “I was in my first floor room when I felt the building shake. I immediately rushed out. Thankfully, it was a mild quake,” said Dipankar Sarkar, from Durgapur in West Bengal who is staying at a lodge in Nam Nang.

“Gangtok is a concrete jungle. My biggest fear is a big quake striking us and we have no where to run. With so many buildings, even if earthquakes don’t kill us, the falling buildings would certainly do,” feared Sangeeta, a mother of two.

Sikkim falls under the seismic zone IV and a major fault line runs through most parts of the Himalayas. Scientists have predicted that a big one is due for the Himalayas any time. The region experience minor quakes on a regular bases.