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In the multiple description coding (MDC), the source is decomposed into two or more descriptions, and then transmitted over on/off channels. At the receiver end, each description can be reproduced with acceptable side distortion; reconstructed signals with lower central distortion can be accomplished by exploiting more descriptions. In order to apply the classical MDC over error-prone channels, we propose error-resilient multiple description coding (ERMDC) to utilize the inherent dependency and redundancy between descriptions to combat bit errors. In this paper, we develop a pair of the ERMDC encoder and central decoder based on the multiple description scalar quantizer (MDSQ). After deriving optimal and suboptimal ERMDC decoders, a novel index assignment algorithm is provided for the ERMDC encoder to improve the error detection capability of the ERMDC decoders. Analytical and experimental results show that the ERMDC outperforms the conventional MDSQ encoder-decoder pair, and achieves lower reconstruction distortions than the side distortion within a large range of bit error rates (BERs).