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Many Border Areas in Tibet Hit Hard by Nepal Quake and Aftershocks


Earthquake in Nepal

The Tibetan areas in the border regions of China were adversely affected by the recent 7.9 magnitude earth quake that shook Nepal and the succeeding aftershocks.

Although death toll and the injury figure remains marginal compared to neighboring Nepal, there are widespread reports of building and house collapse, road damage, and telecommunication outage in many parts of Tibet.

According to China's state run media, some 24,800 people have been relocated from the affected areas which includes the worst affected areas like Kyirong and Nyam. Report also indicate that the quake toppled 1,206 houses and destroyed 9,974.

VOA's Tibetan Service contacted some local Tibetans in the areas and a few others who are settled in exile, but have extensive contacts in the area to know the ground situation of the affected Tibetan areas.

According to Chemi Rigzin, there are reports of death and injury in Kyirong but it is not yet clear exactly how many have died or injured. He says that there were extensive damage to peoples' houses, properties, roads, and other facilities. The area's two main Buddhist monasteries are also reportedly damaged extensively by the quake. Due to its proximity to Nepal and the quake epicenter, Kyirong is one of the worst affected place in Tibet.

The situation in Nyalam and Tingri are not any better. According to a source inside Tibet, although there were no reports of death, extensive damage to people's houses in Nyalam have resulted from the natural calamity and people are still camping in the open areas fearing more quake and house collapse.

The damage is less in the Tingri areas. There are however, reports of house collapses and damages in people's houses and properties. Due to heavy snowfall in the areas, camping outside has made it difficult for the local people. The same source tells VOA that as of Sunday, areas surrounding Tingri and Nyalam felt one major quake and five rounds of aftershocks. The locals say that this is one of worst earth quake to have hit the area in a long period of time.

Another source from Shigatse says that although Shigatse and the surrounding towns didn’t experience huge damage, many houses got cracks and the areas felt one major quake and two rounds of aftershocks and people remain scared by the experience.

The situation in Dham area is reported to be worse than many affected areas inside Tibet with major damages in houses, properties, and roads with cases of deaths and injuries. Dham is a custom border town situated on the Tibet Nepal border. According to a source who has close contacts in the area, five to six people were killed by this latest quake in the area and out of this, four are confirmed to be Tibetans, and another two Tibetans in a nearby village were also killed due to house collapse.

He tells VOA that the whereabouts of a large number of the people in the area has remained unknown, and the main highway connecting Tibet to Nepal has been severely damaged by the quakes and landslides that followed. As a result, people in Dham are unable to travel towards Tibet or Kathamdu via the highway as it has been damaged from both the Tibetan as well as the Nepali side.

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