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May 11, 2001 - May 13, 2001

Quake-damaged house collapses in Bhuj, injures six Sunday, May 13, 2001

Bhuj, May 12 (AFP) - At least six people were injured on Saturday when a two-storey house, damaged by January's devastating earthquake in the city of Bhuj, collapsed, the Press Trust of India said.

The news agency said the victims were living in the house despite warnings from experts that it was unsafe. The building crashed down without a warning.

More than 20,000 people were killed and a million others rendered homeless when the January 26 quake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale flattened Bhuj.

Buildings which survived the earthquake and the aftershocks in the following days developed massive cracks and have been earmarked for demolition.

News Source :
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Kutch people more resilient than others : Expert Saturday, May 12, 2001

Bhuj, May 12 (PTI) Unlike many other societies and places, people in the quake-hit Kutch have displayed a remarkable resilience in coping with the calamity, notes an American psychiatrist.
According to Dr Jerry Jacobs, of the American Red Cross Society, who is here to study the psychological effects of the January 26 temblor on people, "the people of Gujarat are very resilient."

"The general pshycological problems like fears, anxiety and physical problems due to stress are much much less than observed normally in other societies," says Dr Jacobs who is working on a mental health programme to train trainers and volunteers help people cope with post-quake problems like loss of homes, jobs and even family.

"Stress makes them concentrate more on their work," said the doctor attributing much of the inherent strength among the people to the culture and various religious texts.

Based on the findings of the assessment conducted in the Kutch district during the initial or emergency phase, the American Red Cross is devising a community based psychological support programme to reach out to the affected people, he said.

"We are not looking at patients of psychological illness that need hospitalisation, but for simple cases of people complaining of headaches and gastro disorders, which are the quickest manifestations of stress that have come to light," said the doctor.

The programme, likely to continue for six months, would seek to invlove the volunteers and professionals in interaction with the local people through community leaders and would also involve women.

Although people here had showed remarkable strength, the psychiatrist said that various people responded differently to the same situations and they would attempt to communicate to them that "it is not a sign of weakness to seek support."

Commenting on reports criticising the government for not looking at the psychological aspect of healthcare thus far, the expert, who has seen similar situations in several other countries, said: "It's actually now the good time to begin such programmes."

Initial post trauma cases have more to do with the physical rather than psychological part of health care, he observed.

News Source :
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7 members of cooperative housing society arrested Saturday, May 12, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Seven members of a cooperative housing society in Shahibaug area of the city were on Friday arrested by police for their alleged involvement in a Rs 12 crore fraud.

The accused had two years ago floated a housing scheme for backward class people, police said, adding that they had also indulged in a number of financial irregularities.

News Source : Times
Of India News Service
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Water shortage worsens power situation in state Friday, May 11, 2001

VADODARA: Non-availability of power at two hydro-power stations at Ukai in South Gujarat and Kadana in Central Gujarat has aggravated the power problem in the state, a reliable Gujarat Electricity Board source has said.

Up until now, the GEB had been getting some power after releasing water into the reservoir at Ukai. However, today, the water level at Ukai stood at 279. 65 feet as against 305 .75 feet last year. And in order to preserve water for a longer period, the irrigation department has been judicious in releasing water into the reservoir. As and when it decides to release water, GEB manages to operate one of the four hydro units at Ukai, helping it generate 60 MW of power against a total installed capacity of 300 MW.

As a result of the low water levels in reservoirs at Kadana and Ukai, the state has been deprived of 540 MW of hydro power.

Unfortunately, even channelling Narmada water into Mahi has not helped bring back the 240-MW hydro power station at Kadana in neighbouring Kheda district which has been shut since October 1999.

To make matters worse, two consecutive dry monsoons has pushed the water level in Mahi down. This has forced a temporary closure of the 240-MW hydro-power station for 19 months now.

Source - The Times of India

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Rajkot mayor to meet CM on water crisis Friday, May 11, 2001

RAJKOT: Rajkot mayor Ashok Dangar, accompanied by a delegation of municipal corporators, has decided to meet Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel at Gandhinagar on Friday in connection with the ongoing water crisis in Rajkot.

The mayor intends to apprise the chief minister that he had failed to fulfil the promise of supplying 40 lakh gallons of water from the Narmada pipeline project to Rajkot.

While talking to TOINS, Dangar said that he had twice sought appointment with Patel earlier but the chief minister evaded meeting the civic body officials. So the corporators have decided to go directly and meet him. Dangar said that Rajkot has been getting just half of the promised quota of water and this has resulted in severe water crisis in the city.

However, it was not yet decided whether the BJP members in the corporation would join the trip to Gandhinagar or not. The BJP has 25 members in the House of 69 corporators. The meeting with the chief minister is scheduled at 3 pm on Friday, the mayor said.

Source - The Times of India

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