Saturday, September 24, 2011

VISUALS: Trapped inmates rescued from Collapsed Gangtok Buildings near Vajra Cinema Hall

Two buildings collapse in Gangtok
GANGTOK, 24 Sept: Following the massive earthquake of 18 September which has damaged thousands of buildings statewide, it was only a matter of time before news poured in of collapsing buildings. Late this evening, a five-storied building belonging to the Secretary, Sports & Youth Affairs Department, near the Vajra Cinema hall on the North Sikkim Highway collapsed trapping three people inside. Miraculously, all three survived after rescue personnel comprising of civilians, the army and NDRF pulled them out of the debris in time. Only the top two floors could be seen above the road while the other 3 stories had sunk.

Trapped in the collapsed building were a driver, a carpenter and his helper. They were trapped in the lower stories which had sunk. After about half an hour of rescue efforts, they were evacuated and rushed to the hospital in a waiting ambulance.
The building also housed the offices of the United Sikkim Football Club a team of which was due to leave for Kolkata tomorrow and an ATM of Axis Bank. The building behind upon which the building has collapsed, houses a school which is also now precariously positioned.
Fortunately no one was in the building at the time of the collapse, the structure having been evacuated earlier.
But that is not the only building which has collapsed or damaged. The five storied building is believed to have collapsed after the building standing adjacent to it, belonging to former minister, Sonam Choda Lepcha, sank, taking the other building along with it.
A couple of vehicles were also damaged when the ground on which they were parked, in front of the building, also sunk with the structure. One of the vehicles was totally crushed.
The building before Sonam Choda Lepcha’s building has also tilted slightly and is also on the verge of collapse.
Fortunately these buildings had been evacuated. In fact the building belonging to the late Minister had a guest house of a central government agency which had been evacuated on yesterday, on 22 September.
While no one was killed or seriously injured in this mishap, it has brought a renewed anxiety and nervousness among the people. In fact many are now sleeping outdoors inspite of the rain. It has also awakened the state administration to the possibility of having to examine and verify the safety of buildings in the state.

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