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Tears Flow in India as Toll of Devastating Quake Climbs to 665 Dead, 1,700 Injured

October 23, 1991| Associated Press

UTTARKASHI, India — His fingers torn and bleeding, Jagat Singh clawed through the debris of his stone-and-mud house for two hours to rescue his family. He was lucky--all 10 survived the earthquake.

"Outside, the entire village was wailing, but what could I do? All of us were in the same boat," the 32-year-old farmer said, tears streaming down his ruddy, unshaven face.

In his village of Ganeshpur outside Uttarkashi in the foothills of the Himalayas, 50 houses were destroyed in Sunday's mighty temblor.

At least 665 people died in the quake, including 602 in the Uttarkashi district bordering Tibet, said Jitender Nath Ranjan, director of government relief operations.

More than 1,700 people were injured and more than 10,000 houses flattened, Ranjan said at his headquarters in Dehra Dun, 30 miles southwest of Uttarkashi.

He said that about 200 tourists in the quake zone are safe.

"We do not have any foreigner on our casualty list," he said.

Ranjan said relief workers still have not reached some remote villages because of landslides that closed roads and forced relief teams to operate on foot.

He said air force planes and helicopters are still dropping flour, sugar, rice, milk powder, sweaters, blankets and tents to people in the region.

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