Page last updated at 20:59 GMT, Monday, 21 September 2009 21:59 UK

Bhutan hit by strong earthquake


At least 10 people have been killed after an earthquake hit Bhutan and neighbouring Himalayan regions.

The 6.1 magnitude quake damaged monasteries and caused homes to collapse in the mountain kingdom.

The tremors also caused panic in the city of Guwahati, the capital of India's north-eastern state of Assam.

The epicentre was just inside Bhutan's border with India, 180km (115 miles) east of the capital Thimphu, the US Geological Survey said.

"We're trying to piece together information to assess the damage," said Ugyen Tenzing, Bhutan's director of disaster management.

He said rescuers were searching the rubble for survivors.

At least seven people died after buildings collapsed in the eastern districts of Mongar and Trashigang, close to the epicentre of the quake.

Three Indians died in Samdrup Jongkhar district, close to the Indian border, after the road they were working on collapsed.

More than 200 Buddhist monks and 100 local officials were forced to flee an ancient monastery - that also serves as a government office - in Trashigang, the Associated Press news agency reports.

"Houses, and monasteries and roads have been damaged. Mobile services are clogged," Trashigang Governor Lungthen Dorji said.

The US Geological Survey initially reported the quake's magnitude as 6.3 but later revised it down to 6.1.

A teacher from the Trashigang town of Kanglung told state-run radio there had been six to seven aftershocks.

Residents in Guwahati reported cracks appearing in several buildings, but no serious damage.

The quake was felt as far away as Bangladesh and Tibet.

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