Three quakes strike Nepal in less than two hours - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Three quakes strike Nepal in less than two hours

NEW DELHI (CNN) - Five people were killed in Nepal when a magnitude-6.9 earthquake struck the northern Indian state of Sikkim near the border between the two nations Sunday night, police said.

Three died in the capital of Kathmandu and two in the town of Dharan, about 217 miles east of Kathmandu, police said in a statement. Among the dead were a woman and child, authorities said.

About a dozen people were injured when they jumped from their houses during the quake, police said.

Three quakes struck the region. The U.S. Geological Survey initially put the largest quake at 6.8 magnitude, later upgrading it to a 6.9, and the other two at magnitudes 4.8 and 4.6.  All three occurred within an hour and 15 minutes, the USGS said. The India Meteorological Department said the quakes were 6.8 magnitude, 5.7 magnitude and 5.3 magnitude.

The quakes were in the country's mountainous region near the Nepal border, the department said.

Power outages and downed phone lines were reported in Sikkim. One woman was injured when a boulder rolled onto her vehicle, said Chezum Lepcha, sub-inspector at Sikkim's police control room.

No deaths were immediately reported in India, but there were reports of landslides and roads blocked, Lepcha said. The quakes caused panic among residents, and cracking was reported in some structures, she said.

Emergency crews were dispatched from different locations to the region, India's home ministry said in an alert to reporters. At least four fighter jets were carrying rescue officers to a neighboring region, where they travel by road to Gangtok, Sikkim's capital, according to the alert.

No tsunami warning was issued. The earthquake, which struck at 6:10 p.m. local time (8:40 a.m. ET), was 12.2 miles below the earth's surface, according to the USGS.

The quake's epicenter was about 42 miles from the city of Gangtok and 169 miles east of Kathmandu, according to the geological survey.  

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