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February 2, 2001 - February 3, 2001

Quake, followed by flood Saturday, February 3, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat may never be the same again. In more ways than one. For example, the groundwater level has registered an increase in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. Besides, water springs have opened up in several places in Little Rann, altering the water level over the salt pans and changing the topography.

Both in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, the automatic water level recorders -- Peiso meters -- fitted by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) showed that the water level has risen by 2.5 cms after the earthquake.

Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) officials and city-based scientists said the time taken to pump groundwater has become lesser. It took the AMC reportedly one-third of the time to pump out the water since the quake, which could suggest possible rise in the aquifer levels.

CGWB scientists said two shallow aquifer tubewells of 150 mm diameter, one at Sola near Ahmedabad and the other at Gandhinagar, are nearly 60 metres deep. "The reading at 6 am on January 26 was about 2.5 cms less than what was found at noon. The water level became shallower" says hydrologist V S R Krishna.

However, he warns that it is not possible to attribute the same to the earthquake without proper examination.

Reacting to reports of fluctuations in the water table, springing of fresh and saline water, scientist S V Ragahava Rao said "there are possibilities of fresh water coming up as aquifers burst or collide with each other". He said that such phenomena have been observed at a number of earthquake-hit places due to hydrological disturbances.

CGWB scientists are collecting data from many of the 70 recorders fitted last year throughout the state under a project to measure water level fluctuations.

Meanwhile, reports have come in from the Little Rann about saline water springing at a few places. "I went to a number of places from where reports were received, mainly between Maliya and Zinzuvada. I found extremely salty water, even saltier than that found in the Rann. It was brownish in colour and is slowly turning black. It was spread as if it has sprung up," said Devjibhai Dhamecha, a wildlife photographer from Dhrangadhra who went to Little Rann for relief work.

He found such springs near Bajana, between Bajana and Patdi (near Kharaghoda), near Kuda and Kopardi. While the water that sprang out has dried up at most places, at few places it has formed a pool.

In Little Rann, salt pan workers, or the Agariyas, had to retreat as the water level increased near Maliya and Surajbari.

Officials of SWATI, a non-government organisation which is working in over 200 villages in Halvad, Patdi and Dhrangadhra near Little Rann, have also received reports about increase in the water level.

Similarly, a fresh water jet has been reported from near Bhachau in Kutchh.

Apart from water, reports have been also received about oozing of `volcanic mud' at dozens of places. Scientists deny that this is lava. C P Rajendran of the Trivandrum-based Earth Science Studies Centre said, "There are many places where the water table is close to the ground and the water spills above the ground due to accelerated movement. After some time it bursts and we get water on the surface. This has been reported after many major earthquakes. It is known as liquification or fluidisation of soil, where sediments become fluid".

Fresh tremor recorded in Bhuj Saturday, February 3, 2001

Yet another aftershock of 3.6 on the Richter Scale was recorded at Bhuj in Gujarat early Friday morning around 6.05 am.

This was reported by the seismology division of the Indian Meteorological Department in Bombay.

As many as seven tremors measuring between 3.0 and 4.8 on the Richter Scale were recorded in Bhuj on Thursday.

Forces in one of the biggest ever rescue missions Friday, February 2, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Over 23,000 Army personnel, with the assistance of the Air Force and the Navy, are battling round the clock to provide succour to thousands of earthquake victims in Gujarat and also taking out the decomposed bodies, in one of the biggest rescue and relief operations ever launched in the world.

While Army and Navy personnel are continuing the 'Operation Sahayata' in the worst affected areas of Bhuj, Anjar, Bachau and Gandhidham, the Air Force have pressed into service transport aircraft like AN-32, Avro and Mi-8 helicopters.

Cutting and excavation equipment, bulldozers, generators and a large number of doctors and para-medical staff have been airlifted for the rescue work.

In Bhuj, Anjar and Bachau sectors, the Army has so far been able to rescue more than 350 people and pulled out over 1000 bodies.

The Army has pressed into service six engineer regiments, along with their drilling and gas cutting equipment.

With generators on, the soldiers are seen engaged in the operation braving the winter chill.

Army Medical Corps doctors have established mobile field hospitals with the help of seven field ambulance units.

At least more than 10,000 surgeries were performed since the black Friday last and about 16,000 treated.

The Air Force, which also sustained losses of its airmen and their families, lost no time in restoring the operational capability of the air base at Bhuj.

With the government civil hospital at Bhuj razed to the ground, the military hospital at Bhuj and team of specialists rose to the occasion.

Besides providing solace to the affected Air Force personnel, Air Force rescue teams have so far undertaken surgery of about 250 civilians and the patients have been shifted to hospitals at Pune, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar and Gandhinagar.

A combined disaster management cell with the state government has also been made operational at Ahmedabad and Bhuj air field by the Indian Air Force.

Many infantry battalions, artillery regiments and other corp services were working round the clock in the ongoing 'Operation Sahayata' of the Indian Army.

The Army has provided more than 1700 blankets, 150 stretchers and a large quantity of medicines to the quake ravaged people before the international and national relief aid started pouring in.

Armed forces personnel have also chipped in to assist the civil authorities in restoring communication facilities and power supply in the quake-affected regions of Gujarat.

CBSE exams will be held on schedule. Friday, February 2, 2001

The Central Board of Secondary Education has said it will not defer the class X and XII exams in quake-ravaged Gujarat, but is prepared to change the examination centres, if so desired.

CBSE sources told UNI that the board was in constant touch with its regional office in Ajmer and also the CBSE-affiliated schools in Gujarat. The buildings of most of the schools affiliated to the CBSE are safe, as per the information received in New Delhi.

''We understand the students' problems in Gujarat. But holding of exams as per schedule is very important as any change in the time-table will affect the academic career of lakhs of other students who undertake the exams in various parts of the country and abroad,'' they said.

The sources said some of the schools in the state have even started holding practical exams, as per schedule.

The joint secretary (exams coordination), Shashi Bhushan, said the CBSE was, however, prepared to make last minute changes in the centres for the students from the quake-affected state to prevent any inconvenience to them.

''We are ready to change the centres of a few students or the whole school, if a request is made in this regard,'' Bhushan said, adding that the CBSE office in the national capital and the regional office in Ajmer have been instructed to cooperate with the request for change in the centres for students and schools from Gujarat.

The joint secretary, who is responsible for holding the exams by the board, said two parents from Gujarat had approached the CBSE office on Wednesday for a change in the centres of their wards and their examination centres were accordingly changed to Delhi.

Any examinee from the state who wish to get his or her centre changed can approach the regional office in Ajmer or the CBSE head office in New Delhi, he added.

An estimated ten lakh students will appear for the class X and XII exams starting from March 7, and a few thousand of them are from Gujarat.

Yet another aftershock in Bhuj Friday, February 2, 2001

MUMBAI: Yet another aftershock was experienced at Bhuj district early Friday around 0605 hours, with a magnitude of 3.6 on the Richter scale.

This was reported by the seismology division of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) at suburban Colaba here.

As many as seven quakes measuring between 3.0 and 4.8 on the Richter scale rattled Bhuj district Thursday causing panic among the people.

This site is dedicated to our friend Younus M, who passed away on 28th Sept 00, and left on us an indelible memories !
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