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January 26, 2001 - January 27, 2001

Rescuers dig with bare hands to reach quake survivors in Ahmedabad. Saturday, January 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD - Rescuers cleared rubble with bare hands under floodlights Friday night in a desperate race to reach buried survivors of the massive earthquake. Till 9:00am on saturday morning people on their own are carrying out the operation in many parts of the city.

Kutch isolated as Surajbari Bridge collapses Saturday, January 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Roadlink between Kutch region and mainland Gujarat has been severed with collapse of Surajbari bridge that connects the two regions.

Alon with the bridge, the fibre-optic cables that give telecom connectivity to Kutch too have been broken, isolating telecom network with Kutch.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam officials said that the Bhuj Telecom building has collapsed. Most of the telecom equipment has also been destroyed, making the task difficult.

Meanwhile, in Jamnagar area the loss of life has been very heavy and as many as 67 people have died in Jodiya, Aamran and Balambha area. Entire coastal belt has sustained heavy losses of property and people.

In the Balambha village alone, 800 of the 1,200 buildings have collapsed. In Jamnagar city, seven people have died while a total of 86 deaths in the entire district.

As many as 125 deaths have been reported from Morbi town near Rajkot. While 40 people have died in Wankaner, three each in Bhatiya and Salaya while two died in Kalavad.

In coastal town of Sikka, a chimney collapsed in the Digvijay Cement company while the plant of the Reliance Petroleum at Moti Khavdi village has been shut down. Some of the buildings in Reliance township have developed cracks and fractures.

More quake effected images from Ahmedabad Saturday, January 27, 2001

Here are some pictures from the Ahmedabad

Firemen and civilians removing the debris to look for survivors at Pooja Apartments in Ahmedabad.

Gujarat people go to sleep with fear in thier hearts; death toll rises to more than 2000 Saturday, January 27, 2001

The death toll in the earthquake the hit Gujarat is mounting at an alarming rate and the official figure late on Friday night stood at 2000 deaths while another 4500 remained trapped inside collapsed buildings.

Some people have been trapped under debris for more than 16 hours now and chances of their survival are receding by the minute. In Ahmedabad, the death toll has reached 350 by late night and many are still trapped under the debris.

All these figures pertain to urban centres and accurate information from rural areas is yet to come in. The state administration fears that the toll may go beyond that in the Latur earthquake.

Worst affected is Kutch region and Bhuj, Rapar and Bhachau have been severely hit. The epicentre of the quake is believed to lie around 20 km north east of Bhuj. The casualties in Kutch-Bhuj region are expected to run into thousands.

Cities like Bhuj, Anjar, Bhachau and Rapar in Kutch, the worst affected district in the state, have turned into ghost towns. There has still been no information from Kandla-Gandhidham, which is the largest urban centre of the district.

In Bhuj alone, more than 2000 persons are said to be trapped in crashed buildings while 1500 persons are facing a similar fate in Bhacha in Kutch district.

Communication channels to Bhuj have been disrupted. The airport in Bhuj has been damaged and, hence, the air link has been disrupted. However, the IAF managed to land a transport aircraft in the evening.

The land route to Bhuj from Saurashtra has been cut. The Suraj Bari bridge, which connects Kutch with Saurashtra, has been badly damaged. The only route now available is via Radhanpur in north Gujarat.

Rescue teams could not be organised due to the complete chaos that prevailed in the state.

Union Home Minister L K Advani who rushed to Gujarat said some contact has been established in Kutch, but that no accurate information about the casualties is coming in.

More than two hundred injured villagers of Kutch reached Patan and Mehsana on their own. According to them, Rapar and Bhachau towns of Kutch are almost destroyed and even Bhuj has not been spared.

With a population of 150,000, the death toll in Bhuj is expected to be high.

IAF personnel are trying to restore the communication links in Bhuj. Unfortunately, IAF personnel of the Western Air Command headquarters at Gandhinagar were away in Jodhpur for military exercises along with the Indian Army.

However, police personnel were available in full strength at the districts headquarters owing to the R-Day celebrations though they could do little as removing heavy debris required special cranes and machinery, which were in short supply.

The condition in Morbi in Saurashtra is also expected to be bad. At least 146 people have been killed in Morbi. The hostel of the engineering college of the city collapsed, but many students have been rescued.

Though Rajkot was also affected, the death toll is not expected to be high. Bhavnagar, which over the last year experienced frequent minor earthquakes, escaped major destruction. Very few deaths have been reported from the city so far as it is far away from the epicentre.

Ahmedabad city was rocked by a quake measuring around 6.9 on the Richter scale at around 0850 hours (IST) leaving 249 dead and 556 injured. The official figure for the toll in the state stood at 1967 at Friday evening, but it could go up as rescue work is yet to pick up. Many are feared trapped in collapsed buildings.

Eighty-two buildings have collapsed in Ahmedabad alone. With many people still trapped under the debris, it is feared that the death toll in the city alone could go up to 750.

People took it upon themselves to rescue injured people from the debris. Many social organisations have come forward to organise relief operations.

Ahmedabad Mayor Himmatsinh Patel reached V S Hospital at around 1000 hours and was trying to goad the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation administration into action. As phone lines were dead in early part of the morning, the AMC's wireless system was used for information gathering and dissemination.

Chief Minister Keshubhai also rushed to Ahmedabad from Gandhinagar and stayed put at the Police Control Room. Later, he ordered setting up of a control room at the Circuit House. However, the task proved difficult.

Electricity supply had been cut off as a precautionary measure. However, it was restored around noon and Doordarshan started transmitting news bulletins. The chief minister went on air and appealed for calm and requested people to help each other and the administration.

In Ahmedabad, all the roads were jam packed with vehicles as people were rushing to enquire about kith and kin. Besides, few dared to go back into their homes.

Ironically, the decades-old houses in old Ahmedabad city remained comparatively intact while the flashy high-rise buildings that came up in the last decades proved fragile.

Many multi-storeyed buildings collapsed killing large number of people.

Manasi Apartment, a 10-storeyed residential tower in Satellite area collapsed. The just completed and half-empty D-block of Shikhar Tower in Vejalpur also came crashing down. Raghu Kripa, another high rise shook wildly before titling to one side. However, residents had a miraculous escape.

Many buildings have developed cracks and some are leaning to a side. Even a slight tremor can cause them to collapse. Residents are not prepared to move into them and are spending the night in the open.

People are helping each other and organising community kitchens while some whose homes survived the destruction are giving shelters to others.

Night has engulfed the state while fear has engulfed the hearts of the people. Experts have warned of some minor tremors following the major quake and, hence, everyone is keeping their fingers crossed.

Pictures from earth quake affected areas of Gujarat Friday, January 26, 2001

A building damage due to the devastating earth quake in Ahmedabad.

Relief workers dig through the rubble in Ahmedabad.

A lady trapped inside the debris.

Volunteer's and firemens dig through the rubble in Ahmedabad.

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