– Kedar Magar
Two school buildings, one police post and 475 houses suffered damages so far when a magnitude six earthquake hit Khotang on Sunday. According to the District Disaster Management Office, a house was completely destroyed while other houses suffered cracks. Similarly, the earthquake destroyed four-room building of Thurpurdanda secondary school at Kepilasgadhi rural municipality-5, a four-room building of Surkedanda secondary school at Diktel Rupakot Majhuwagadhi rural municipality-3, a police post building at Kepilasgadhi-2, said the District Administration Office. A house belonging to Tej Bahadur Nepali of Halesi Tuwachung municipality-5 was completely damaged by the earthquake. Chairperson of Sakela rural municipality, Rabi Prakash Rai, shared that 464 houses at Sakela rural municipality, the epicentre of the earthquake, suffered damages so far.
A total of 134 houses at Banjhechyandanda, 88 houses at Ratanchha, 57 houses at Khidima, 105 at Mattim and 80 at Mattimbirta were damaged in the earthquake, he added. The temblor has damaged six houses at different wards of Diktel Rupakot Majhuwagadhi municipality, one house each at Mahadevsthan and Salle of Halesi Tuwachung municipality, two houses at Khotehang rural municipality and one house at Rawabensi rural municipality, informed Surya Prasad Sedhai, the Chief District Officer and Coordinator of the District Disaster Management Committee.
“The local levels continue to report the damage caused by the earthquake as well as by floods and landslide. All the 10 local levels in the district have been urged to provide within three days information on the damage caused by the earthquake,” he said, adding that it seems it will take longer to get the exact information as heavy rainfall is taking place in the district. The National Earthquake Measurement Centre has stated that it is the most powerful earthquake to occur in the country so far after the April 24, 2015 Gorkha Earthquake.
The epicentre of the Khotang earthquake was at Sakela rural municipality which borders with Diktel bazaar, the major trade centre of the district. The people are in fear of more temblors like the last one. Although no human casualties occurred due to the latest earthquake in the district so far, aftershocks continue and the general public has been urged to adopt precaution, CDO Sedhai said. According to him, the Nepali Army, Police and Disaster Management and Rescue team have been kept in ready position for mobilising the moment information about the disaster is received.
Halesi Tuwachung municipality has written to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA) for assessing the damage. Mayor Bimala Rai said that immediately after the earthquake they have written a letter to the NDRRMA, Ministry of Home Affairs, for conducting an integrated disaster vulnerability assessment. The rest of the local levels in the district too have started collecting information about the damages caused by the earthquake in their respective areas. The Disaster Management Committees have been formed at all the 10 local levels in the district for the rescue, relief and management whenever a disaster occurs.