2009 Bhutan earthquake
|Date||21 September 2009|
|Depth||14 kilometres (8.7 mi)|
|Casualties||at least 11 |
The 2009 Bhutan earthquake occurred at 14:53 local time on September 21 in the eastern region of Bhutan with moment magnitude of 6.1. The epicenter was situated at 180 kilometres (110 mi) east of the capital Thimphu, in Mongar District. However, Bangladesh and northern India also felt it, with buildings in Guwahati, Assam, cracking up. The tremors were felt as far as Tibet.
At least eleven people are reported to have been killed—seven in Bhutan, four in India. The death toll, initially ten, increased when one more died in the night. At least fifteen were wounded. Many of the deaths in Bhutan came about when their houses fell in on top of them. The Indians were construction workers whose road fell through.
One businessman said the earthquake happened as shopping was underway for the Blessed Rainy Day ceremony of Buddhism. Another inhabitant said it "made the surrounding hills look like they were throwing up dust" and that "the road was suddenly filled with boulders and mud". Thousands are living outdoors as a result. Children were crushed under structures as they caved in. Roads were blocked but these were cleaned up relatively quickly. Monasteries were also struck. People ran for their lives out of their homes.
There were at least seven aftershocks.
Prime Minister of Bhutan Jigme Thinley said the earthquake was "one of the biggest disasters in recent times". He also said the length of the earthquake (95 seconds) was "very long". He and his home minister have embarked on a visit to the region.
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