School roof collapses in U`khand, 18 kids killed

A child was killed while 25 others were buried under the debris after the roof of a primary school collapsed following heavy rains in Kapkot area of Uttarakhand`s Bageshwar district Wednesday.

Last Updated: Aug 19, 2010, 00:33 AM IST

Dehradun: At least 18 children were killed
while six others were pulled out alive from the debris after
the roof of a primary school collapsed in a hilly area today
following heavy rains in Uttarakhand`s Bageshwar district.

Around 18 children are feared trapped below the rubble
and efforts were on to rescue them, Anup Nautiyal, CEO of
Emergency Response Service said tonight.

The children were in the age group of six to 10 years, he
said, adding the rescued children who were injured were safe
and were being treated by doctors.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank said
the search and rescue teams have recovered the bodies of 18
children from the debris of the collapsed building in Kapkot
area, about 450 km from here.

The roof of the Saraswati Shishu Mandir at Sumgad village
collapsed this morning when the children were studying,
burying them under the debris, he said.

Six other children were also rescued safely with minor
injuries from the debris, he added.

Nautiyal said according to reports around 50 children
were inside the classes when the tragedy occurred. Fortunately,
several children were in the open compound area, he added.
The Chief Minister also announced ex-gratia of Rs 50,000
each to the families, which have lost their children.

Despite bad weather, the rescue and search operation is
going on in the affected area, said official sources.

Bageshwar District Magistrate D S Garbiyal said the
tragedy occurred due to heavy landslides triggered by
torrential rains at the hill where the school is situated.

Rescue teams from the district headquarters had a tough
time reaching the spot after the bridge linking the area with
Kapkot also collapsed due to heavy rains last night, Bageshwar
District Development Officer S K Singh said.

However, locals sprang into action immediately after the
incident and safely brought six children out of the rubble, he
said.

Uttarakhand Governor Margaret Alva expressed grief
over the death of children in the tragedy at Kapkot area of
Bageshwar district.

In her message, Alva has also prayed to God to give
strength to the family members of the children to bear the
loss, a Raj Bhavan release said.

Nautiyal said that rescue operations are continuing
despite bad weather and poor connectivity in the area.
"We have already deployed few ambulances on the spot
and relief work continues as we speak now..," he said.

-PTI