A powerful earthquake with a 6.8 magnitude hit Sikkim and several areas in the eastern part of the country and neighbouring Nepal, leaving 18 dead and over 100 injured besides causing extensive damage to buildings and roads.
The epicentre of the quake - the biggest in two decades -was located at Mangan and Sakyong areas, over 50 km from Gangtok on the Sikkim-Nepal border.
Seven persons were killed in Sikkim -- two at Singtham in East district, two in Rishi in West district and one at Mangan in North district, Chief Secretary Karma Gyatso said.
Gyatso said that two others had also died in other places, but could not give details.
In neighbouring West Bengal four deaths were reported --three in Darjeeling district and one in Jalpaiguri district, Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh said.
Of the deaths in Darjeeling district, one each occurred in Kalimpong, Kurseong and Siliguri sub-divisions, Ghosh said.
In Bihar, two persons were killed in Nalanda and Darbhanga districts, official sources said.
A five-year-old girl and a youth were the two victims, they said.
At least five people were killed in Nepal, three of them outside the British Embassy in Kathmandu, when a high brick-wall collapsed.
Tremors were also felt in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Delhi.
Four teams of National Disaster Response Force have been rushed to Sikkim and five more teams were being sent from Kolkata, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth told reporters after a meeting of top officials in Delhi convened on the direction of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.