Gangtok: September 20
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has assured that there is a very little chance of another massive earthquake, yet people in Sikkim are scared of sleeping inside their houses. Thousands slept under the open sky or inside their cars, for the second night on September 9, in Sikkim. That too despite of rain and cold.
More than 70 percent of the houses in Gangtok have damaged badly or have cracks. This is why people are avoiding sleeping inside.
On Sunday night, by 11 pm, an estimated 7,000 locals, with blankets and bedding, took refuge in the safe open field of Paljor Stadium. “There was so much panic – women were carrying their babies and crying,” Thupten Bhutia, in-charge of the stadium, told DNA.
“The whole place was packed.” Thupten says he’d never seen anything like it before – “One man had run away from hospital to be at the stadium because he felt safer out in the open”. By the evening in Monday, Thupten said, “people had started to line up outside the stadium.”
Till last night Gangtok was cut off from rest of the world as not just roads were blocked but also there was no mobile connectivity. Darkness of the night increased their fear as there was no power either. “The national highway and state highways, all district link roads and interior roads, bridges, canals, hospitals and office buildings have been badly affected. Electricity transmission lines and water supply have also suffered major damages,” said Sikkim chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling on Monday.
Meanwhile rescue teams are working hard to bring life back to normal. Electricity in many parts of the city, is back. But the darkness in the lives of many caused by the deaths of their near and dear ones, will take a long time to go.
(with DNA inputs)