People of central and northern Assam spent a sleepless night on Wednesday as 20 aftershocks continued till Thursday afternoon after the powerful earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale jolted the state, causing damages to many buildings and injuring 10 persons.
According to the National Centre for Seismology (NCS), the powerful quake which first shook Sonitpur in northern Assam at 7:51am on Wednesday, were also felt in North Bengal, other northeastern states including Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, neighbouring Bhutan and Bangladesh.
The NCS data said that after the main quake at a depth of 17 km from the surface, 20 aftershocks of magnitude 2.3 to 4.7 on the Richter scale were recorded on Wednesday and Thursday (until 4:17pm on Thursday) in the vicinity of Sonitpur, Nagaon, Morigaon districts.
The disaster management officials in Guwahati said that there are reports of damage to buildings, roads and some other infrastructure in different parts of Sonitpur, Tezpur, Nagaon, Morigaon and adjoining areas.
At least 10 persons were injured in Darrang, Kamrup Metro, Nagaon and Sonitpur districts. The official said that several apartments, buildings and hotels developed cracks. Electricity and gas supply were disrupted in some places.
An official statement of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority said that detailed damage assessment is going on in coordination with various agencies including Fire and Essential Services, state and national disaster response forces and the experts from Assam Engineering College led by professor Jayanta Pathak.
Prime minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and DoNER (Development of North Eastern Region) minister Jitendra Singh spoke to Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and assured all possible help.
Immediately after the tremors were felt, Sonowal rushed to Dhekiajuli, 140 km north of Guwahati, to assess the situation and announced financial assistance for those injured in the tremor.
Successive earthquakes in the mountainous northeastern states, especially in Assam, Mizoram and Manipur, have made the authorities worried.
The northeastern states, especially Mizoram, frequently witness mild to moderate earthquakes that force the public and private builders to construct quake resistant houses.
Seismologists consider the mountainous northeastern region as the sixth most earthquake-prone belt in the world. In 1950, an earthquake measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale had altered the course of the mighty Brahmaputra river, which passes by the Guwahati city.