Strong quake hits India’s Assam state

by AFP

NEW DELHI – A strong earthquake hit Assam in northeastern India early Wednesday, damaging buildings, but there were no immediate reports of casualties, residents said.

The US Geological Survey said the quake was of magnitude 6.0 with an epicentre in a hilly region near India’s border with Bhutan. But the tremor and aftershocks were felt hundreds of kilometres away in the northern state of Bengal.

The quake badly shook Tezpur, a city of 100,000 people, about 45 kilometres (28 miles) from the epicentre. Residents said many people poured onto the streets and some buildings were damaged. 

Even in the state capital, Guwahati, about 150 kilometres (95 miles) to the south, the quake shook buildings and left cracks in walls. Residents said at least two big aftershocks were felt.

The USGS said the quake hit at a relatively shallow depth of 29 kilometres (18 miles) at 0221 GMT in hills just north of Dhekiajuli, a town in a tea-growing district of northern Assam.

The Himalayan region is regularly hit by big earthquakes. A 1950 quake killed about 4,800 people in Assam and in Tibet.