PATNA, INDIA, Sept 3, Reuter: India on Saturday reduced its official death toll from last month’s major earthquake after uncovering false reports of fatalities from people trying to claim government compensation, officials said.

The officials of Bihar, the northern state rocked by the quake on August 21 said they had reduced the death toll from 296 to 281.

They told Reuters the other 15 alleged deaths were reported by people trying to claim the 15,000 rupee (1,100 dollar) compensation offered by the government for fatalities.

The officials did not say whether any action would be taken against those accused of making false reports.

In neighbouring southeast Nepal at least 700 people were killed in the earthquake, which measured a powerful 6.5 on the richer scale. Both have been hit by aftershocks but no further damage has been reported.

The Bihar Officials said another aftershock felt widely in the state on Saturday measured 4.8 on the richer scale. There was some panic but no reported injuries in the three second tremor.

Both countries are trying to clean up the wreckage left by the earthquake which in Bihar destroyed or damaged nearly 80,000 buildings.

Floods’ ‘caused by torrential monsoon rains have delayed cleanup operations, In the worst hit areas of Bihar such as the town of Darbhanga, engineers were still awaiting the arrival of heavy lifting machinery before starting demolishing damaged houses.

Article extracted from this publication >> September 9, 1988