Friday, September 30, 2011

Red Army border posts damaged in Sikkim Earthquake

Chinese Soldiers help remove debris after the earthquake

Two residents in Yadong county in the Tibet autonomous region on Sept 19
 Gangtok: The earthquake that rattled Sikkim more than a week ago also left a trail of devastation across the border in Tibet, inflicting widespread damage on life and property. According to an assessment here, the Chinese People's Liberation Army has also suffered losses with its garrison at Yadong in Tibet, barely 40 kilometres away from Sikkim, taking the maximum hit. Reports hint that troops from the Yadong garrison were involved in a massive rescue and relief operation in the region. Independent reports suggest that at least 2,000 soldiers were taking part in the relief operation though the exact number of casualties in the area could not be ascertained. The operation was anchored by the Tibet military district with air support from the army aviation wing of the Chengdu military region. Yadong has been one of the areas worst affected by the earthquake, with communication lines in the area having snapped completely. In Sikkim, the Indian Army is spearheading the rescue operation, clearing the debris and delivering relief material to people living in remote areas. The Indian Army has a brigade-level presence in the region to guard the border with China in north Sikkim. Apart from the civilian population, even the army has suffered damages as contact to many areas in the region was cutoff because of landslides. Though the loss of life was contained, the link to forward location remains inaccessible and could take some time to rebuild. The link to Nathu La, at more than 14,000 feet, is yet to be restored. While Sikkim witnessed frantic activities with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also visiting the state, information is not forthcoming on developments in Tibet.

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