Toll could go up to 20,000 Sunday, January 28, 2001
AHMEDABAD: The devastation in Friday's earthquake could be much more than the estimates. Thousands of bodies have been found burried under debris in far-flung areas of Gujarat, particularly in the Kutch region which bore the brunt of the catastrophe.
Although the death toll in what is seen as the worst-ever quake to hit the country since independence was officially put at ``around 10,000'' by chief minister Keshubhai Patel, it is feared it could go up to twice that figure. Officially, the number of those seriously injured has been put at 15,380.
Relief work in Bhuj and other smaller towns of Kutch district, which have been razed to the ground, has been badly affected as communication systems are down and there is no electricity. All the 147 telephone exchanges in Kutch were hit and only a handful of lines in Gandhidham and Bhuj were functional. The telecommunications department has said it would take at least two more days to restore phones in Bhuj and Gandhidham.
Apart from Bhuj where nearly 90 per cent of the buildings came crashing down, there are reports that several towns like Rapar, Anjar, Bachhau and scores of villages have been wiped out from the face of the earth. There is not a single structure standing in some of these areas, an aerial survey has found.
The fate of 300 children, who were taking out a Republic Day procession in Anjar, is not known as buildings on the street collapsed over them from both sides.
There are reports of massive loss of life and property in Radhanpur (Banaskantha), Mehsana and Morbi (Rajkot). The chief minister carried out an aerial survey of towns in Kutch.
The state transport corporation is rushing 150 buses to Kutch to evacuate the injured. Also, 100 trucks mounted with plastic water tanks are being rushed to the region.
In the absence of government machinery, it is the local people who have carried out most of the rescue operations in Kutch. In Anjar, about 80 per cent houses in the town's centre, which has a population of 25,000, have crumbled. In Bachhau, which has a population of 10,000, there is hardly a standing structure and so is the case with Rapar.
All the electricity towers in Kutch and the sub-stations have been destroyed and it will take a massive effort to restore power to these areas. Twenty big generators have been despatched to these areas along with large quantities of relief material, doctors and medical staff.
In Morbi, the historic Mani Mandir and Durbargarh and the famous tower of Morbi have caved in. More than 300 deaths have been reported from the Morbi town alone.
Gujarat has sought an immediate ad hoc payment of Rs 500 crore to tackle the situation, Union textile minister Kashiram Rana said. A cash relief of Rs one lakh has been sanctioned by the state government for the next of kin of those killed.
The armed forces deployed over 4,700 defence personnel, 40 aircraft, helicopters and naval ships in Gujarat. Defence minister George Fernandes and chief of air staff A Y Tipnis were camping at Bhuj to direct relief operations.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee termed the quake as a "calamity of national magnitude" and said the emergency would be dealt with on a war footing.
Indian Airlines and Alliance Air have decided to carry ``free of cost'' all relief materials to Gujarat besides operating additional flights there. Railway minister Mamata Banerjee announced that five special trains will leave Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Howrah for Bhuj. She said 24-hour railway information centres have been opened at various cities.
The Reserve Bank of India has relaxed the limits on ways and means advances and overdraft rules for Gujarat till the end of February to facilitate relief work.
Switzerland is sending sniffer dogs to Ahmedabad to help trace people buried under the debris of high-rise buildings. The International Committee of Red Cross has already despatched a mobile surgical hospital while its Indian chapter has sent 30,000 blankets, agriculture secretary Bhasker Barua told reporters after a meeting of the Crisis Management Group.
The US embassy in New Delhi has donated $25,000 to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.
Several state governments too announced hefty financial assistance. Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Karnataka, have decided to donate Rs five crore each, Jharkhand, Rs 1.5 crore, Chhattisgarh and Orissa Rs one crore each and Himachal Pradesh has sent a draft of Rs 51 lakh.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi Saturday left for Gujarat and despatched a high level team to assess the damage. She asked the Congress-ruled states, Pradesh Congress Committees and partymen to immediately rush relief materials to the quake-hit state.
List of villages in Kutch affected by the earthquake and thier situation. Sunday, January 28, 2001
|Worst Affected |
(Gandhidham city affected badly)
|About 80 per cent houses|
in the town's centre, which has a population of 25,000, have crumbled
|No major Damages|
|Major damages &|
destruction.90% buildings collapsed.There is hardly a standing structure
|Derasar slightly sunk|
|Safe. No damages to|
affected,Sancha Mata mandir damaged.20 houses destroyed, however no casualties
confirmed.Heavy damages.70 dead.Sachha mata mandir almost destroyed.Ramdevpeer temple
upper dome damaged.
|Around 10 houses|
destroyed & below 10 casualties feared.Shanti - Nami co-operative society damaged.
Keniya dead.Almost all buildings have cracks.For information contact
Rameshbhai,Umeshbhai,Pravinbhai Bheda,Bharatbhai Bheda who have returned from Kapaya on
4224661 or Bhupesh bhai on 4097804.
|Reported with minor|
|4 Dead & minor|
structure damages.Dome of derasar damaged
|18 deaths .Affected|
|Safe & water sprung|
from under the ground.
injuries,Vegetable Market Collapsed,Mandvi bridge slightly damaged,Light house
destroyed,Gokul hospital has suffered 50% damage
|3 Person Died & 5|
admitted to Kaira Hospital.Many houses damaged
houses collapsed rest on verge of falling.
|Port not damaged,Minor|
|Some casualties reported|
|Badly damaged & 8|
|Minor stucture damages.|
Urgently.Old house broken, New houses crack formed.Derasar slightly damaged.People moved
out of village.7 Dead(Not Jains).Bachhu bhai send releif.
|There is hardly a|
|4-5 buildings damaged.No|
|Reported with minor|
damaged.4 Dead.Few houses are collapsed & rest on the verge of falling.People have
been moved out of the village since houses can fall anytime.Contact Chunilalbhai-4022825
|Tirth damaged slightly|
& 2 persons injured.
|Vondh & Pudharmora |
|All buildings razed to|
Bhuj's death-toll could cross 20,000, say doctors Sunday, January 28, 2001
The death toll in the worst-hit Bhuj town of quake-devastated Gujarat may touch 20,000, doctors aiding the rescue efforts there said on Sunday.
A top government hospital functionary told UNI that a team of doctors from the institution despatched to Bhuj reported on Saturday morning that an estimated 50,000 people are still trapped in the debris of the collapsed buildings.
''The final figure of casualties may touch 20,000. In a nutshell, our medical team there has described the condition of the town as completely devastated. No part of the town is left untouched,'' he said.
Meanwhile, major government hospitals in the capital have been put on an alert to receive and treat the injured victims of the Gujarat earthquake.
However, no survivor has been brought to New Delhi yet, hospital sources said.
The super-speciality All India Institute of Medical Sciences has made special arrangements to receive the injured and has reserved beds for them. The Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital's disaster ward is also ready to treat any patients brought in.
Both hospitals have also despatched their medical teams to Bhuj along with medicines and equipment. The AIIMS has sent two teams of 22 doctors along with medical and surgical equipment and is sending another lot of equipment and medicines today.
The RML Hospital has sent a medical team of eleven persons including orthopaedists, surgeons, physicians and paramedic staff besides first aid kits and medicines. Another team is also on stand-by.
The government hospitals in New Delhi are coordinating the relief efforts with the Red Cross Society of India.
10 students among 23 rescued in Ahmedabad Sunday, January 28, 2001
At least 23 people, including ten students buried under the debris of a collapsed school building were rescued alive on Sunday, three days after the killer earthquake rocked Gujarat, even as people's anger rose high over the "slow pace" of rescue operations.
Besides the 10 students, another 13 were rescued from two other sites in the worst affected Maninagar area in the suburb of the city.
The survivors included a woman, Mona Singhvi and a 10-year-old child, Vicky.
"After 40 hours of sustained operations we were able to take out 23 people alive from the debris -- including 10 of the 70 students feared trapped under the debris of the Swaminarayan Vidya Mandir," B H Patel, divisional officer of the Maninagar fire station, said.
Those rescued had suffered minor to major injuries and have been admitted to various hospitals, he said.
Meanwhile, resentment was palpable in the vicinity. "Relief operations are going at a very slow pace and no proper equipment is being used to clear the rubble," said Vishnubhai, whose cousin's body was extricated from the debris.
NCC cadets were helping the Army and firemen to clear the concrete heaps and in cutting through wrangled steel by using gas cutters.
Residents in the area complain of the rescue team being poorly equipped. The operation cannot move at a faster pace until cranes and bulldozers were deployed to remove the huge concrete slabs, Devendra Patel, who lost his 14-year-old son, said.
"We have ourselves managed a 40-tonne crane from a private contractor," said Jayendra Patel. who lost his three daughters along with Devendra's son.
The residents were shelling out Rs 3000 per day as diesel cost besides rent of the crane, Patel, who himself miraculously escaped while his daughters got trapped under the debris of their flats, said.
Non profit Organisations and groups collecting funds to help the earthquake victims. Sunday, January 28, 2001
Vapi: Many Non profit organisations are organising rallies and programs to collect funds to help people affected by the earthquake. Many trucks and Mini tempos carrying food items and all the various necessity of life were sent to Ahmedabad and Bhuj areas by Hindalco group of Companies, Silvassa.
Vapi Maharastra Mitra mandal had organised a rally today morning to collect funds for the earthquake victims.