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January 27, 2001 - January 27, 2001

Over 400 children lie buried under school Saturday, January 27, 2001

BHUJ: Nearly 400 children, who had assembled for a school function in Bhuj in Gujarat were feared trapped under rubble after the major earthquake, officials said on Saturday.

P.P. Afjha, inspector general of Bhuj Police, told AFP the children had come to school to celebrate the Republic Day on Friday when the earthquake triggered the collapse of the school building.

"All the school children along with their teachers are buried under the rubble of the school building," said Afjha. (AFP)

List of buildings that collapsed in Ahmedabad Saturday, January 27, 2001

Maninagar
1.Vishwakunj area
2.Shrinathji apartment
3.Building opposite Maninagar police station
4.Mukti maidan building, LG corner
5.Milllatnagar area
6.Bhairavnath flat
7.Omkar flats
8.Utsav flats
9.Kunjal apartment
10.Santun apartment
11.Building opposite Maninagar railway station
12.Shubhsagar flat
13.Bhairavnath modern flat
14.Jalasmruthi flat
15.15th August apartment

Naranpura
1.Sushmita flats
2.Building beside Jahanvi apartment
3.Building near AUDA office

Vatva
1.School in Ghodasar

Satellite
1.Building near Vartaman society
2.Building near Sundervan
3.Hari Om tower
4.Shikar flats
5.Mansi complex
6.Akshar apartment

Ghatlodiya
1.Maruti flat
2.Building near Sattadhar crossroad

Shahibaug
1.Riddhi-Siddhi apartment

Madhavpura
1.Mosque minarets and water tank collapsed

Vejalpur
1.Rajpath complex caved in
2.Sahajanand complex
3.Main building of Canara bank
4.Visat avenue flat caved in
5.Siddh Sheela flats in Vasna caved in

Sabarmati
1. 8 flats collapsed near Sundervan
2. Vidyalaxmi apartment
Ellisbridge
1.Building near Pritamnagar
2.Sang-e-marmar and Friends colony
3.Shitalbag apartment
4.Vaishali tower
5.Mehta chambers
6.Purvi apartment

Navrangpura
1.Azad society apartment leans over
2.Building near LD Engineering college
3.Building near CRB house
4.Vishram flat
5.Poonam flats
6.Gulbai tekra building
7.Dus bungla, Gulbai tekra
8.Setu apartment
9.Smruti building

Kagdapith
1.Kankaria Hill park society building caves in

Shahpur
1.Two building in Halim in Khadki
2.Wall of Al-Amin hotel
3.One building in Mangalpark no khancho
4.One building in Chinaigar ni pol
5.One building near Pathharwali masjid

Gujarat quake toll may cross 6000 mark. Saturday, January 27, 2001

The death toll in Friday's earthquake in Gujarat is likely to cross the 6000 mark, according to latest reports received in Gandhinagar on Saturday morning.

The report said nearly 3000 people are reported to have died in the worst affected Kutch district alone.

Minister of State for Home Harin Pandya said that nearly 2300 bodies have already been recovered in various quake-affected districts of Gujarat.

He said many more bodies could be buried in the debris of collapsed structures at various places.

In Ahmedabad, nearly 100 high-rise and multi-storeyed buildings have collapsed and almost all other buildings have developed cracks.

Nehru bridge, over the River Sabarmati, has also cracked.

Relief work is on in full swing.

Fear psychosis makes thousands to flee Bhuj. Saturday, January 27, 2001

Thousands of people are still fleeing Bhuj district and are heading towards Rajkot city on Saturday morning, following Friday's earthquake.

A fear psychosis has struck the residents of Bhuj, where thousands are feared dead, and they feel that the earthquake may strike again. Many preferred to sleep on the Rajkot-Bhuj highway, in the chilling cold.

Rescue operations is going on at a slow pace, according to eye-witnesses rushing towards Rajkot city for help.

The fleeing residents said that there was maximum damage at Gandhidham, Bhuj, Anjar and a part of Kandla Port Trust.

Said Kiran Dedia, a businessmen at Kandla who was rushing to Rajkot city, "All buildings which were above three storeys have crashed. And there is no way that people can survive in the debris for long."

People are also transporting patients on handcarts and bicycles.

Many residents in Rajkot preferred to sleep in tents, rather than their flats and open air kitchens have been set up.

Eye-witnesses from Bhuj stated that the air force base was being used for relief operations.

All political parties have given up differences and are working together on rescue operations, besides helping patients at Rajkot civil hospital.

Social workers moved about in autorickshaws, in the city and villages, requesting doctors to come out and treat those injured.

"The death toll for the entire state would be a minimum of 5,000" says Home minister Haren Pandya Saturday, January 27, 2001

At least 5,000 people were killed in the devastating earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale that shook the Indian subcontinent and flattened Gujarat, state home minister Haren Pandya said on Saturday. More than 2,000 were injured.

"The death toll for the entire state would be a minimum of 5,000," Pandya told AFP here. "We still do not have precise figures for the number of dead," Pandya said, adding that communication links had yet to be restored to several regions.

Officials said Bhuj, nearest to the epicentre of the quake, alone accounted for 3,000 deaths, while 700 were killed in Ahmedabad. About 300 deaths were reported from other parts of the state.

According to Harsh K Gupta, director of the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) in Hyderabad, the quake measured a shade under 8 on the Richter Scale. This was not only higher than the quake's intensity, which was initially put at 6.9, but made it one of the most powerful quakes to have struck the country. The figure was arrived at after collating figures of the intensity of the quake measured by other centres in the world.

Meteorological Department sources in Pune said the epicentre of the quake lay 20 km northeast of Bhuj in Gujarat. The quake was felt from Kashmir to Kanyakumari as well as Kolkata. It was also recorded in Sindh province of Pakistan and Nepal.

The deaths were mostly the result of building collapse. Most of the victims were women and children who were indoors when the quake struck. As a result of the quake, power and communication lines were snapped, roads caved in and railway property was damaged at several places in the state.

Army, Navy and paramilitary personnel joined the local authorities in rescue and relief operations. Medical teams have been rushed from neighbouring states, including Rajasthan as well as New Delhi, and the Centre is making all arrangements to provide assistance for relief and rescue operations.

In Bhuj, most of the people were victims of house collapse. Bhuj was completely cut off from the rest of the state as communication links snapped. The other badly affected districts were Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar and Surat. Mehsana district, close to the state capital, Gandhinagar, was another badly affected city with Vadnagar and Visnagar being badly damaged. Around 70 buildings collapsed like a pack of cards in Ahmedabad, especially in the Maninagar, Satellite and Ambawadi areas. Maninagar in south Ahmedabad appeared to be the worst-hit with at least 15 high-rise buildings reported to have collapsed. Screams rent the air as people were caught unawares and their homes collapsed. Over 10 of these buildings caved in up to the second floor. There was a mass exodus from the cities as people fled to safer areas.

Ironically, the government machinery, which was busy with the Republic Day celebrations, took some time to come to the aid of the tragedy-affected people. An hour after the quake struck, police jeeps were seen patrolling but policemen appeared to be quite aghast at the devastating sites, compelling spectators to take over and spring to the rescue of those trapped in the debris. At some places, even as bulldozers arrived, they could not be pressed into service because of the precarious positioning of the buildings lest there be more damage. The legendary 15th century monument, the Shaking minarets, located in Gomtipur, are reported to have collapsed.

People were caught in a frenzy and became panic-stricken as cracks began to appear in the walls of the older structures and vessels rattled from the racks and fell on to the floor. January 26 being an auspicious wedding date, several marriage parties that were out with the bridegrooms and decorated processions were abandoned in haste. In Maninagar, in the Rudralaya apartment, 25 people were feared trapped in a four-storeyed building which collapsed. People who had come for a wedding were trapped in the building, but the bridegroom managed to escape.

The walled city area was also badly affected with many dilapidated buildings having collapsed and many others caving in. While bridges survived the catastrophe, the Nehru bridge and some other bridges developed cracks.

In Delhi people felt dizzy from the swaying. Residents of Mumbai rushed out and those in high-rise buildings held on to doorways as they watched their pictures and cupboards sway.

It was the same in Chennai and Pondicherry, further to the south, where people began fleeing in panic from a Republic Day parade until officials on loudspeakers calmed them.

Tremors were also felt in Vijayawada and surrounding areas. There was no report of any damage.

The quake hit just before the Republic Day parade in Delhi, where thousands of police and security personnel were on alert against a possible terrorist attack. No panic was reported at the parade, attended by top government and military leaders, and foreign guests, including Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

In Rajasthan, the quake damaged some portions of a historic fort and a haveli in Jaisalmer and caused cracks in walls in Jaipur. However, no casualty has been reported from anywhere in the state.

The back portion of historic Salam Singh Ki Haveli cracked and fell on the roof of a neighbouring house.

Two slabs of the upper portion of `Hawa Pol' inside the historic Golden Fort in Jaisalmer also fell on the ground, creating havoc among the people residing the colony inside the fort.

Police in Mumbai said the tremors were more intense in areas bordering the Arabian Sea.

The earthquake also shook eastern parts of India, with mild tremors being felt in and around Kolkata.

Millions of pilgrims sleeping in tents at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, felt the ground sway beneath them, but there was no panic.

In Pakistan, a child and an adult died when their two-storey home in Sindh city of Hyderabad collapsed from the early morning tremor, emergency rescue workers said. They were sifting through the rubble of the cement-block home searching for more people. It wasn't immediately clear whether other members of the family were missing.

Reports from Kathmandu said the tremors caused panic among residents in the Nepalese capital as they fled their homes, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

This is the eighth time that the country recorded tremors measuring eight or above on the Richter Scale in the past 182 years. The highest intensity of 8.7 was recorded on June 12, 1897 in the Shillong plateau in the north-east. The next biggest to strike was on August 15, 1950 measuring 8.5 on the Arunachal Pradesh-China border, followed by one on January 15, 1934 on the Bihar-Nepal border, measuring 8.3 on the Richter Scale and another measuring 8.1 on June 26, 1941 in the Andaman Islands. Two quakes measuring 8 were recorded on June 16, 1819 in the Kutch area of Gujarat and in Kangra in Himachal Pradesh on April 4, 1905.

Friday's quake was a result of tectonic activity along a line of weakness in the earth's crust passing through the region known as the Narmada Son Lineament (NSL), Gupta said. The NSL has been listed as one of the most seismically active zones in the Global Seismic Hazard Programme - a worldwide effort to delineate possible quake zones and to understand them, a programme coordinated by the NGRI.

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