Gangtok: Twenty-two people, travelling in a
bus, went missing since last evening in North Sikkim where the
epicentre of the 6.8 magnitude earthquake lay.
They were believed to be travelling in a GREF bus which
is still to be traced by the rescue teams.
A spokesman of the 17 Mountain Division said the army was
still not able to find the missing bus which could be anywhere
between a radius of 10 and 15 km along Mangan and Chungthang
in North Sikkim.
The official death toll in the North district now stands
at 24 excluding the 22 in the missing bus.
The road from Gangtok to Mangan the North district
headquarters has been opened for the time being with rescue
operations in full swing.
Meanwhile a total of 100 families were rescued and
evacuated to safer locations in the West district by the
district administration and local people. All the families
have been shifted to safer locations.
With four deaths in the district, the number of the
injured in the district has exceeded 120.
The army rescue team has still not been able to make
their way into the district because of the district highway
giving way at many locations.
However, District Collector, West, Santa Pradhan says
that the roads to Geyzing which is the West district
headquarters will be open by tonight.
In the West district apart from the casualties, two
major monasteries Pemayangtse and Tashiding Monastery built in
the late 1700s have been damaged.
These monasteries have historical significance for
mainly the Buddhists. Ancient stupas in the monastery complex
have also been destroyed in the earthquake.
School buildings in the district have also been
abandoned along with many government office buildings in the