About 75000 people still trapped in Bhuj. Sunday, January 28, 2001
According to unofficial sources the chief minister of Gujarat, Shri Keshubhai Patel stated last night that about 75000 people that is about half the total population of Bhuj is still trapped inside the debris. This news has still to be confronted.
Transport links partially restored in Kutch Sunday, January 28, 2001
Rescue and relief operations in Kutch district, flattened by India's worst earthquake in 50 years, are being undertaken on a war footing and transport services over the Surajbari bridge were restored by Saturday, the Gujarat state control room in Gandhinagar said.
Passenger bus services and light vehicles have started plying over the bridge, which was damaged in the earthquake. Contact through Odesar Road with Kutch has also been restored and Bhuj airport has also resumed functioning.
But the railway links with Kutch are still not operational. Post and telegraph personnel were working to restore the paralysed communication lines in the district, sources said.
The Gujarat State Electricity Board was also working to restore snapped power lines in Kutch.
So far 1,501 bodies have been recovered from the debris of collapsed houses in Kutch district and about 10,000 people have been reported injured, sources said. Bhuj, Anjar, Bhachau and Rapar in Kutch district were the most affected areas.
As many as 150 special buses have been pressed into service in the affected areas and a team of 100 doctors and paramedical staff have started rendering medical services to the affected people.
Injured Bhuj residents may be taken out of Bhuj through Planes Sunday, January 28, 2001
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is being apprised of the relief and rehabilitation measures for the quake-affected victims of Gujarat on an hourly basis, Agriculture Secretary Bhaskar Baruah claimed on Saturday.
He told reporters that the Crisis Management Group would not hazard a guess on the eventual death toll but 'so far, the Gujarat government has put the toll at 2353 with 15,000 injured.'
In Bhuj alone, the death toll till 1730 hours on Saturday was 1451 and the number of those injured was 10,072, he informed.
He said it was at the prime minister's insistence that Indian Air Force aircraft had been asked to evacuate the injured out of Bhuj town to places like Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Jamnagar.
"Our first priority is extricating those trapped and the dead," said Baruah, who is co-ordinating the relief measures at the Centre for the CMG.
Rs 100 million has been allotted from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund, he informed.
The Centre has accepted six sniffer dogs, offered by the Swiss Government, to help extricate the dead and trapped persons in Bhuj and other cities of Gujarat.
He pointed out that Russia, Japan, Germany, Turkey, Switzerland and the US had also offered assistance to the victims.
The government has accepted Germany's offer to provide heavy earth lifting machinery and that capable of cutting and lifting slabs of up to 45 tonnes, he said.
Foreigners attached to their country's relief measures were being given instant visas valid for 15 days without delay, Baruah informed.
Various state governments have pitched in with cash, blankets, food, medical supplies and earth moving and excavating equipment.
While Haryana had sent 10,000 blankets on Saturday, Punjab would send 30,000 on Sunday, he said, adding that provision had also been made by IOC to send 45,000 kilolitres of kerosene to the state.
"The people of Bhuj have themselves come forward with relief measures," the agriculture secretary said.
"Fortunately, the power grid has not collapsed," Baruah said. He pointed out that Gujarat needed 5,900 MW of power of which 5,300 MW is still available.
Fifty specialists from NTPC and GRIDCO have rushed to Bhuj to restore damaged power lines.
Baruah said, "Blankets, generators, potable water, milk powder and food packets have been rushed to the victims."
The Coast Guard is ferrying doctors to the affected areas.
Southern army commander General Vij is in Bhuj along with Defence Minister George Fernandes, to oversee relief operations. Baruah pointed out that Bhuj airport was now operational and is supporting operations.
Roads to Bhuj are now operational.
In another development, 60 doctors from New Delhi have been rushed to Bhuj and while 50 have also rushed from Bombay and efforts are on to send maximum medical supplies and food packages.
Baruah pointed out that people had slept out at night, due to fear, and he clarified that there was no shortage of food.
Hundren generators have been sent from Bombay alone.
Nearly 150 jeeps have also been sent to the quake affected areas. Central government public sector undertakings are also helping out - Hindustan Zinc, IFFCO and CRIBHCO are taking care of sending food supplies.
Paramilitary forces like the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, CISF and Rapid Action Force have been rushed to the affected areas.
About 188 prisoners escape during earthquake. Sunday, January 28, 2001
Friday's earthquake resulted in freedom for 188 prisoners in Bhuj jail who escaped taking advantage of a collapsed wall.
Disclosing this, Gujarat Minister of State for Home Haren Pandya said on Saturday that 50 of the fugitives were hardcore criminals.
There were 268 prisoners in the jail, he added.
"I have come to the conclusion that we will cross 13,000 in Kutch alone and elsewhere maybe 2,000 more," Sunday, January 28, 2001
Narendra Modi, Secretary General of the BJP, after completing the helicopter tour of the region said "I have come to the conclusion that we will cross 13,000 in Kutch alone and elsewhere maybe 2,000 more,".
Star Television quoted Defence Minister George Fernandes as telling reporters he also feared 15,000 had died. If confirmed, the death toll would rival the numbers killed in a powerful earthquake in Turkey in August 1999, when more than 17,000 people were killed. Many of the dead were in Bhuj, a town of some 150,000 people near the Pakistan border and about 20 km (12 miles) from the epicentre of the quake. But preliminary reports said that even worse affected was Anjar, a small town of about 30,000 people.
Police said some 350 schoolchildren and 50 teachers out on a school parade had been buried in Anjar when the earthquake hurled debris into the small alley where they were marching. Another 50 had been pulled out alive.