Tragedy at British embassy as earthquake hits Kathmandu

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Two men and a child were killed outside the British embassy in Kathmandu last night when a wall collapsed after an earthquake that could be felt across the region.

The 6.9 magnitude tremor struck north eastern India and Nepal, killing at least 16 people. Aftershocks were felt throughout the evening, with at least one measuring more than six on the Richter scale. At least five people in India's Sikkim state were killed and an unspecified number of people were injured, according to state police chief Jasbir Singh.

The full extent of damage was not immediately known because the region is sparsely populated with many people living in remote areas now cut off by mudslides triggered by the earthquake.

Television stations reported buildings buckled, pavements cracked and two major roads collapsed in Sikkim's state capital of Gangtok, 42 miles south-east of the quake's epicentre near the border with Nepal.

Power lines snapped in the West Bengal cities of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, which "are now in total darkness", said the state's chief minister, Mamata Banerjee.

The quake was also felt as far away as the Indian capital, with New Delhi residents rushing out of shaking buildings. In Kathmandu, members of parliament who were debating the national budget ran out of the assembly hall into a parking area. They were able to return 15 minutes later.