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A powerful 6.7-magnitude earthquake with its epicentre in neighbouring India struck Bangladesh on Monday, prompting people to rush out of their homes in panic resulting in death of three persons and injury to nearly 100 others.
Officials said three deaths were reported from Dhaka, north-western Rajshahi and Lalmonirhat and died due to heart attack caused by panic.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit at 4:35 AM (local time) 29 kilometres west-northwest of Imphal, Manipur in India.
The tremor was felt throughout Bangladesh. In Dhaka, most people rushed out to the streets in panic.
TV news channels reported that several dilapidated buildings in the old part of Dhaka developed cracks after the pre-dawn earthquake.
Fire service officials said a six-storey building was tilted and another developed cracks at old Dhaka's Bangshal and Shankaribazar areas respectively. "Inmates are still inside, we may ask them to evacuate if it appear risky after our assessment," a fire service spokesman said.
According to the reports, the quake burst a gas pipeline at Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital sparking a flame, which was extinguished shortly.
"We have treated 30 people mostly students who were brought here from different dormitories of the Dhaka University. They were injured," a duty doctor at the state-run Dhaka Medical College Hospital said.
He said the lone casualty reported at the facility was a 23-year-old youth who had no apparent injury on the body meaning "he suffered a cardiac arrest in panic and died."
Several people jumped in panic from the rooftops of their buildings to escape. Most other injuries were reported from quake-prone Northeastern Sylhet, bordering India's Assam with residents saying they desperately tried to get out of homes as the quake shook and swayed the buildings.
32 people were admitted to a state-run facility in Sylhet with minor injuries following the panic rush, according to reports.
Disaster expert ASM Maksud Kamal said the intensity of the tremor in Dhaka was above 4 and the tremor was felt more as it took place at a shallow depth underground.
"We call it shallow focus earthquake," he said. The meteorological department said the earthquake was 35 km deep.
According an expert study, an earthquake of 7.5 magnitude might kill nearly 1,00,000 people pulling down some 70,000 vulnerable buildings in the capital Dhaka alone.
(Inputs from Agencies)