Agartala: At least one woman was killed and four others were injured when a moderate intensity earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter Scale and epicentred in Tripura struck the country's Northeast on Tuesday afternoon.
According to the National Centre for Seismology, the epicentre of the temblor which occurred at 1439 hrs was in Dhalai district in Tripura at a depth of 28 km.
As per the United States Geological Survey, the quake's magnitude was 5.5. It said the quake had its epicentre in Ambassa, Tripura.
Panic-stricken people ran out of homes, offices, and buildings in the region. 50-year-old woman Kamalini Kanda died after suffering a heart attack at her residence at Natunbagan in Kamalpur subdivision of the district, local MLA, Anjan Das, said.
"It was terrible as the quake lasted for about one and half minutes," Biswajit Bhattacharya, a resident of the area, said.
At least 30 houses developed cracks, officiating Sub-divisional Magistrate of Kamalpur in Dhalai, Amitava Chakma, said.
"It was the strongest earthquake that I have experienced till date. It felt as if the whole building would collapse," Pradip Mallik, an Agartala resident, said.
The quake was traced to a location in Ambassa area, about 59 km from Agartala, an official at the Regional Seismological Centre told PTI.
The officer-in-charge of Dhalai and Unakoti districts of state fire service department, Sukumar Debbarma, said landslides occurred in a number of places in a five-km radius along the Chhamanu-Gobindabari road.
Debbarma said a portion of the boundary wall of the fire service office at Unakoti district had collapsed due to the earthquake.
"A 20-meter stretch of the boundary collapsed," he said.
Four persons, including two women, were injured in adjacent Unakoti district and all of them were admitted to the district hospital, police said.
Manik Deb, a resident of Kailashahar town of the district, fainted during the quake while Prashanta Das, a mason was seriously injured when he fell from a roof while working.
Azerunnesa (30) of the town was injured when a brick fell from a roof on her, while Lipika Malakar, who lives on the outskirts of the town was injured as she tripped while running in fear.
Officials in Meghalaya said the quake was felt for quite some time but there was no report of damage anywhere in the state.
The quake was felt in Assam too, including capital Guwahati, and people rushed out of their houses and offices.
"Karimganj, Hailakandi, Cachar and Dima Hasao are the bordering districts of Assam with Tripura. We received reports from the authorities that no damage has taken place there," Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) Joint Secretary Nandita Hazarika said. Experts consider India's mountainous northeast the sixth major quake-prone belt in the world.
The region has seen some of the biggest quakes in history.
In 1897, a Shillong-epicentred quake measured 8.2 on the Richter scale. In 1950, an earthquake in Assam measuring 8.7 on the Richter Scale forced the mighty Brahmaputra river to change its course.
In September 2011, Sikkim suffered heavy damage after a quake hit the state.
(With PTI inputs)